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If a Man Builds a Joyful House 

Assyriological Studl . I ol Erie Verdun Leichty 

Ann K. Guinan, 

Maria deJ. Ellis, A. J. Ferrara, 

Sally M. Freedman, 

Matthew T. Rutz, Leon hard 


Steve Tinney, and 

If a Man Builds a Joyful House: 

Assyriological Studies in Honor of 

Erie Verdun Leichty 

Cuneiform Monographs 





If a Man Builds a Joyful House: 

Assyriological Studies in Honor of 

Erie Verdun Leichty 

Edited by 

Ann K. Guinan, Maria del Ellis, A.J. Ferrara, 

Sally M. Freedman, Matthew T. Rutz, 

Leonhard Sassmannshausen, Steve Tinney, 

and M.W. Waters 




This book is printed on acid-free paper. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 
is available on 

ISSN 0929-0052 

ISBN-10 90 04 14632 6 
ISBN-13 978 90 04 14632 7 

© Copyright 2006 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. 

Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill Academic Publishers, 

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If a man builds a joyful house ... 

. . . that man will be joyful! 

Erie Verdun Leichty's enthusiasm is boundless. Whether he is talking 
to colleagues, students, or lay people, he communicates an insatiable 
curiosity and excitement about the field of Assyriology and the fun- 
damental humanity of its long- forgotten subjects. 

. . . the bounty of that house will increase! 

In applying his considerable energy and talents to his research projects, 
Erie is indefatigable. He spends long, often frustrating hours con- 
tending with the formidable challenges of reading, interpreting, and 
cataloguing cuneiform tablets. 

. . . the gods will accept his gifts! 

variant: the attainment of wishes! 

Erie has touched many facets of the field with his generosity. Through 
his tacit inclusiveness, he has made each of his students immediately 
feel like part of the "in group." Because of his wide ranging interests, 
education, and on-going research, he has become a channel of that 
more recent "stream of tradition," the oral history (and mythology) of 
the field. His editorial work is a model of service to the scholarly 
community. His philanthropy and dedication have touched many 
projects in the Babylonian Section of the University of Pennsylvania 
Museum in Philadelphia, where he continues to augment the research 

. . . that house will endure! 

Erie 's most enduring contribution is his body of published work, which 
continues to grow. Any research in cuneiform philology will eventu- 
ally consult one of the results of his labors, be it his standard edition of 
Summa izbu, the Akkadian and Sumerian dictionary projects to which 
he has contributed, his on-going efforts to help catalogue tablets in 
the British Museum, or his forthcoming edition of Neo-Assyrian his- 
torical texts from the reign of Esarhaddon. 

... all who enter that house will be joyful! 

The editors and contributors of this volume count themselves fortunate 
to have entered Erie's house and it is with joyful hearts that we honor 
him with this token of our esteem, affection, and gratitude. 

... the builder of that house will be praised! 

Erie Verdun Leichty 


Foreword xi 

Abbreviations xiii 

Bibliography of Erie Verdun Leichty xxiii 

Tzvi Abusch 

Lists of Therapeutic Plants: An Observation 1 

Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple in the Fourth Century BC 5 

J. A. Brinkman 

The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period: 

A Forerunner of Neo-Babylonian Ancestral Names? 23 

Jeanny V. Canby 

Early Dynastic Plaque Fragments 45 

Miguel Civil 

bes/pe-en-ze-er = bissuru 55 

MarkE. Cohen 

A Small Old Babylonian Army of A-pi-ru-u 63 

Barry L. Eichler 

Cuneiform Studies at Penn: From Hilprecht to Leichty 87 

Richard S. Ellis 

Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 111 

A. J. Ferrara 

The Size and Versions of Inanna's Descent 127 

I. L. Finkel 

On an Izbu VII Commentary 139 

Sally Freedman 

BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 149 


Practice or Praxis 167 

A.R. George 

Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith, Part Three 173 



William W. Hallo 

Another Ancient Antiquary 1 87 

Atsuko Hat tori 

The Return of the Governor 197 

Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 

Visualizing Text: Schematic Patterns in Akkadian Poetry 209 

Jacob Klein 

An "Old Akkadian" Sale Document of Unknown Provenance 223 

W.G. Lambert 

Enbilulu and the Calendar 237 

M. P. Maidman 

A Stray Nuzi Text from Belgium 243 

Piotr Michalowski 

How to Read the Liver — In Sumerian 247 

D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 259 

J. Polonsky 

The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth and the Determi- 
nation of Destiny at Sunrise 297 

Erica Reiner f 

If Mars Comes Close to Pegasus ... 313 

John F. Robertson 

Nomads, Barbarians, and Societal Collapse in the Historiography 

of Ancient Southwest Asia 325 

F. Rochberg 

Old Babylonian Celestial Divination 337 

Martha T. Roth 

Elder Abuse: LH § 195 349 

Jo Ann Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

A Weakness for Hellenism 357 

T.M. Sharlach 

The Case of the Family that Fled 383 

Marcel Sigrist 

Droit de peche: Tablette St. Etienne 26 391 



Ake W. Sjoberg 

Some Emar Lexical Entries 401 

Clyde Curry Smith 

Some Footnotes to the History of Assyriology: Leonard William 

King of the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania 43 1 

Ira Spar, Thomas J. Logan, James P. Allen 

Two Neo-Babylonian Texts of Foreign Workmen 443 

Matthew W. Stolper 

Parysatis in Babylon 463 

Claudia E. Suter 

F for Fake? Two Early Mesopotamian-Looking Objects in a Swiss 
Collection 473 

Niek Veldhuis 

Divination: Theory and Use 487 

M. W. Waters 

Four Brothers and a Throne 499 

Richard L. Zettler 

Tisatal and Nineveh at the End of the 3 rd Millennium BCE 503 

Indexes 515 



It is a distinct pleasure for those who know Erie Verdun Leichty as a teacher, 
colleague, and friend to present this volume in honor of his substantial and 
wide-ranging contributions to Assyriology. Erie's publications (pages xxiii- 
xxvii below) are a witness to his interest in a variety of topics and his 
facility for dealing with a broad spectrum of texts — always with an eye on 
the panoramic sweep of Mesopotamian history. The editors and contributors 
alike have benefited from Erie's willingness to share not only his extensive 
knowledge, but also the fruits of his hard work and long hours cataloguing 
tablets in the British Museum. Barry Eichler's contribution to the present 
volume (pages 87-109) details the scope of Erie's contributions and the 
many ways in which he has worked to support Assyriological research. 

The title of this volume is an adaptation of an omen from Summa Alu 
that was selected by the editors as a fitting homage to the breadth of Erie's 
scholarship, his contributions to the infrastructure of the field, and his singular 
generosity of spirit. 

The editors would like to thank Geerd Haayer for his advice and help. As 
with every other Styx publication, his craftmanship can be found on every 
page of this volume. 

We are also happy to thank the following individuals for generously 
offering their invaluable assistance in seeing this project to completion: 
Kevin Danti, Richard Ellis, Charles Kline, John Kessler, Nicholas Picardo, 
Christopher B. F. Walker, and Richard Zettler. 

Matthew Rutz, one of the editors of this volume, was also the technical 
editor in charge of all the final details involved in preparing the manuscript 
for submission. He carried out these tasks with diligence, common sense, 
and good humor. We are all in his debt. 



The abbreviations employed in this volume follow Akkadisches Handworter- 
buch (AHw I, 1965; II, 1972; III, 1981), The Assyrian Dictionary of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago (CAD R, 1999), The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary 
(PSD A/3, 1998), and The Comprehensive Catalogue of Published Ur III 
Tablets (ed. Marcel Sigrist and Tohru Gomi; Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 
1991). The two principal exceptions are published proceedings of the Ren- 
contre Assyriologique Internationale (here CRRAI) and Festschriften (here 
Studies). Others are listed below. Additional abbreviations adopted by the 
contributors are defined at the beginning of their contribution. 















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scriptions Cuneiformes de I 'Ashmolean Museum et de la 
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Rochberg, F. Aspects of Babylonian Celestial Divination: 
The lunar Eclipse Tablets ofEnuma Anu Enlil. Archiv 
fur Orientforschung, Beiheft 22. Horn: Verlag Ferdinand 
Berger & Sonne, 1988 

The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David Noel 
Freedman. 6 volumes. New York: Doubleday, 1992 
Annali dell'Istituto universitario orientate Napoli (Naples) 
Ancient Magic and Divination (Groningen / Leiden) 
American National Biography (Oxford) As Field numbers 
for objects from Tell Asmar (Iraq) 

Aula Orientalis. Revista de estudios del Proximo Oriente 
Antiguo (Barcelona) 

Aula Orientalis Supplementa (Barcelona) 
Beitrage zur Assyriologie und semitischen Sprachwis- 
senschaft (Leipzig / Baltimore) 
Biblical Archaeologist (Cambridge, Mass.) 
Baghdader Forschungen (Mainz) 
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Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Edited by Jack 
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A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. 2 nd edition. Edited 
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Postgate. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2000 
Classical Journal (Pittsburgh) 




CRRAI 14 (1966) 

CRRAI 15 (1967) 

CRRAI 17(1970) 

CRRAI 26 (1980) 
CRRAI 28 (1982) 

CRRAI 29 (1983) 
CRRAI 33 (1987) 

CRRAI 35 (1992) 

CRRAI 38 (1992) 

CRRAI 44/1 (1999) 
CRRAI 44/2-3 (2000) 

Cuneiform Monographs (Groningen / Leiden) 
Compte rendu de la seconde rencontre assyriologique 
Internationale. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1951 
Le probleme des Habiru a la 4 e rencontre assyriologique 
Internationale. Cahiers de la Societe Asiatique 13. Edited 
by Jean Bottero. Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1954 
La divination en Mesopotamie ancienne et dans les regions 
voisines. Travaux du Centre d'etudes superieurs specialise 
d'histoire des religions de Strasbourg. Paris: Presses 
Universitaires de France, 1966 
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Philosophic et Lettres de l'Universite de Liege, Fasc. 1 82. 
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"Les Belles Lettres," 1967 

Actes de la XVII e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. 
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archeologiques en Mesopotamie, 1970 
Death in Mesopotamia. XXVI e Rencontre assyriologique 
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Vortrdge gehalten aufder 28. Rencontre Assyriologique 
Internationale in Wien 6.-10. Juli 1981. Archiv fur 
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Hermann Hunger. Horn: Verlag Ferdinand Berger, 1982 
Papers of the XXIX Rencontre Assyriologique Interna- 
tionale, London, 5-9 July 1982: Iraq 45/1 (1983) 1-164 
Lafemme dans le Proche-Orient antique: compte rendu de 
la XXXIII e Rencontre assyriologique internationale, Paris, 
7-10 juillet 1986. Edited by Jean-Marie Durand. Paris: 
Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1987 
Nippur at the Centennial. Papers Read at the 35 e Recontre 
Assyriologique Internationale, Philadelphia, 1988. 
Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer 
Fund 14. Edited by Maria deJong Ellis. Philadelphia: The 
University Museum, 1992 

La circulation des biens, des personnes et des idees dans 
le Proche-Orient ancien. Actes de la XXXVIII e Rencontre 
Assyriologique Internationale (Paris, 8— 10 juillet 1991). 
Edited by Dominique Charpin and Francis Joannes. Paris: 
Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1992 
Landscapes. Territories, Frontiers and Horizons in the 

Near East. Papers presented to the XLIV Recontre 
Assyriologique Internationale, Venezia, 7-11 July 1997. 3 
volumes. History of the Ancient Near East / Monographs 



CRRAI45/1 (2001) 

CRRAI 45/2 (2001) 

CRRAI 47 (2002) 


Emar 6 


HeeBel, Diagnostik 












3/1-3. Edited by Lucio Milano, Stefano de Martino, 
Frederick Mario Fales, and Giovanni B. Lanfranchi. Padua: 
Sargon srl, 1999-2000 

Proceedings of the XLV e Rencontre Assyriologique 
Internationale, Part I, Harvard University: Historiography 
in the Cuneiform World. Edited by Tzvi Abusch, Paul- 
Alain Beaulieu, John Huehnergard, Peter Machinist, Piotr 

Part II, YaleUniversity: Seals and Seal Impressions . Edited 
by William W. Hallo and Irene J. Winter. Bethesda, Md.: 
CDL Press, 2001 

Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East. Proceedings of 
the 47 th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Helsinki. 
2 volumes. Edited by Simo Parpola and R.M. Whiting. 
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Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribner's 
Sons, 1928- 

Dictionary of National Biography . 1885- 
Enuma Anu Enlil 
E.A. Hoffman Collection 
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von Soden, Wolfram. Grundriss der akkadischen Gram- 
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Field numbers for objects from Tell Yelkhi (Iraq) 
Inanna's Descent 

Litteratures anciennes du Proche-Orient (Paris) 
Laws of Hammurapi = CH 
Mission archeologique de Mari (Paris) 
= Barton, MBI 

Mesopotamian Civilizations (Winona Lake, Ind.) 
Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Field numbers for objects from Meskene / Emar (Syria) 
Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis (Fribourg / Gottingen) 
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. 
Edited by Eric M. Meyers. 5 volumes. Oxford: Oxford 
University Press, 1997 

Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 

Orientalia Nova Series (Rome) 
Orientalia Series Prior (Rome) 













RIME 3/1 

RIME 3/2 










Proceedings of the British Academy (London) 
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Old Babylonian Forerunner to urs(HAR)-ra = hubullu (Hh) 
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Assyriologica et Semitica. Festschrift fur Joachim Oelsner. 
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From the Workshop of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary: 
Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim. Edited by 
R.D. Biggs and J.A. Brinkman. Chicago: The Oriental 
Institute, 1964 

Love and Death in the Ancient Near East. Essays in Honor 
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Company, 1987 

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Renger. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 267. Edited 
by Barbara Bock, Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum, and Thomas 
Richter. Miinster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1 999 
A Scientific Humanist. Studies in Memory of Abraham 



Studies Sjoberg 

Studies von Soden 

Studies Spycket 

Studies Steve 

Studies Veenhof 

Studies Walker 

Studies Wilcke 



Sachs. Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah 
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DUMU-E 2 -DUB-BA-A. Studies in Honor ofAke W. Sjo- 
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N.J.C. Kouwenberg, and Theo J.H. Krispijn. Leiden: 
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 2001 
Mining the Archives. Festschrift for Christopher Walker 
on the Occasion of His 60 th Birthday 4 October 2002. 
Babylonische Archive 1 . Edited by Conelia Wunsch. 
Dresden: ISLET Verlag, 2002 

Literatur, Politik und Recht in Mesopotamien. Festschrift 
fiir Claus Wilcke. Orientalia Biblica et Christiana 14. 
Edited by Walther Sallaberger, Konrad Volk, and Annette 
Zgoll. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003 
Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv) 

Durand, Jean-Marie. Textes babyloniens d'epoque recente. 
Recherche sur les grandes civilisations, Cahier 6. Paris: 
Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1981 
Joannes, Francis. Textes economiques de la Babylonie 
recente (Etude des textes de TBER — Cahier no 6). 
Etudes Assyriologiques. Paris: Editions Recherche sur 
les Civilisations, 1982 



Uruk = SpTU 4 no. 142 (see I.L. Finkel in the present volume) 

UTAMI Yildiz, Fatma, and Ozaki Tohru. Die Umma Texte aus 

den Archaologischen Museen zu Istanbul. Bethesda: CDL 

Press, 1993 
WmF Wiirzburger medizinhistorische Forschungen (Wiirzburg) 

WWWA Who Was Who in America (Chicago) 




A Bibliography of the Cuneiform Tablets of the Kuyunjik Collection in the 

British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1964. 
The Omen Series Summa Izbu. Texts from Cuneiform Sources 4. Locust 

Valley, N.Y.: J.J. Augustin, 1970. 
Tablets from Sippar 1. Vol. 6 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the 

British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1986. 
Tablets from Sippar 2. Vol. 7 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the 

British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1987. [with 

A. K. Grayson] 
Tablets from Sippar 3. Vol. 8 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the 

British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1988. [with 

J.J. Finkelstein and C.B.F. Walker] 
Esarhaddon (680-669 BC). Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, Assyrian 

Periods 8. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming. 
Tablets from Babylon 1. Vol. 4 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the 

British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, forthcoming. 
Tablets from Babylon 2. Vol. 5 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the 

British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, forthcoming. 

[with I.L. Finkel] 


"Two New Fragments of Ludlul bel nemeqi!' Orientalia Nova Series 20 

"The Colophon." Pages 147-54 in Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppen- 
heim. From the Workshop of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. Edited 
by R. M. Adams, R. M. Biggs, and J. A. Brinkman. Chicago: The Oriental 
Institute, 1964. 

"Apisalu." Pages 327-8 in Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on 
his Seventy-Fifth Birthday April 21, 1965. Edited by R. M. Biggs and 
J. A. Brinkman. Assyriological Studies 16. Chicago: University of Chi- 
cago Press, 1965. 

"Teratological Omens." Pages 131-9 in La divinitation en Mesopotamie 
ancienne et dans les regions voisines. XIV e Rencontre Assyriologique 
Internationale (Strasbourg, 2-6 juillet 1965). Travaux du centre d'etudes 
superieures specialise d'histoire des religions de Strasbourg. Paris: Pres- 
ses Universitaires de France, 1966. 


Publications of Erie Verdun Leichty 

"A Remarkable Forger." Expedition 12 (1970) 17-21. 

"Demons and Population Control." Expedition 13 (1971) 22-6. 

"Two Late Commentaries." Archivfiir Orientforschung 24 (1973) 78-86. 

"The Fourth Tablet of Erimhus." Pages 319-26 in Kramer Anniversary 
Volume. Edited by B.L. Eichler. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 25. 
Kevelaer / Neukirchen-Vluyn: Butzon and Bercker / Neukirchner Verlag, 

"Literary Notes." Pages 143-6 in Essays on the Ancient Near East in 
Memory of Jacob Joel Finkelstein. Edited by M. del Ellis. Memoirs 
of the Connecticut Academy of Arts & Sciences 19. Hamden, Conn.: 
Archon Books, 1977. 

"A Collection of Recipes for Dyeing." Pages 1 5-20 in Studies in Honor of 
Tom B. Jones. Edited by M. A. Powell and R. H. Sack. Alter Orient und 
Altes Testament 203. Kevelaer / Neukirchen-Vluyn: Butzon and Bercker 
/ Neukirchner Verlag, 1979. 

"The Curators Write: The Sumerian Dictionary." Expedition 24 (1982) 46-8. 

"Bel-epus and Tammaritu." Anatolian Studies 33 (1983) 153-5. 

"An Inscription of Assur-etel-ilani." Journal of the American Oriental Society 

"A Legal Text from the Reign of Tiglath-Pileser III." Pages 227-9 in Lan- 
guage, Literature, and History. Philological and Historical Studies Pre- 
sented to Erica Reiner. Edited by F. Rochberg-Halton. American Oriental 
Series 67. New Haven, Conn.: American Oriental Society, 1987. 

"Omens from Doorknobs." Journal of Cuneiform Studies 39 (1987) 190-6. 

"Ashurbanipal's Library at Nineveh." Bulletin of the Canadian Society for 
Mesopotamian Studies 15 (1988) 13—8. 

"Guaranteed to Cure." Pages 261^4 in A Scientific Humanist. Studies in 
Memory of Abraham Sachs. Edited by E. Leichty, M. deJong Ellis, and 
P. Gerardi. Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 9. 
Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1988. 

"Making Dictionaries." Humanities 9 (1988) 18-20. 

"Feet of Clay." Pages 349-56 in DUMU-E 2 -DUB-BA-A. Studies in Honor of 
Ake W. Sjoberg. Edited by H. Behrens, D. Loding, and M. Roth. Occa- 
sional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 1 1 . Philadelphia: 
The University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1989. 

"A tamitu from Nippur." Pages 301-4 in Lingering over Words. Studies in 
Ancient Near Eastern Literature in Honor of William L. Moran. Edited 
by T Abusch, J. Huehnergard, and P. Steinkeller. Harvard Semitic Studies 
37. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1990. 

"Esarhaddon's 'Letter to the Gods.'" Pages 52-7 mAh Assyria ... Studies in 
Assyrian History and Ancient Near Eastern Historiography Presented to 
Hayim Tadmor. Edited by M. Cogan and I. Ephal. Scripta Hierosolymi- 
tana 33. Jerusalem: Magness Press, 1991. 


Publications of Erie Verdun Leichty 

'The Distribution of Agricultural Terms in Mesopotamia." Pages 197-8 in 
Sulmu IV Everyday Life in [the] Ancient Near East. Edited by J. Zablocka 
and S. Zawadzki. Poznan: Adam Mickiewicz University Press, 1993. 

'The Origins of Scholarship." Pages 21-9 in Die Rolle der Astronomie in den 
Kulturen Mesopotamiens. Edited by H. D. Gaiter. Grazer morgenlandische 
Studien 3. Graz: GrazKult, 1993. 

'Ritual, 'Sacrifice,' and Divination in Mesopotamia." Pages 237-42 in Ritual 
and Sacrifice in the Ancient Near East. Edited by J. Quaegebeur. Orien- 
talia Lovaniensia Analecta 55. Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters en Department 
Orientalistiek, 1993. 

'Sheep Lungs." Pages 132-3 in The Tablet and the Scroll. Near Eastern 
Studies in Honor of William W. Hallo. Edited by M. E. Cohen, D. C. Snell, 
and D.B. Weisberg. Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 1993. 

'Esarhaddon, King of Assyria." Pages 949-58 in vol. 2 of Civilizations of 
the Ancient Near East. Edited by J. Sasson. 4 vols. New York: Scribner, 

'Section 5. Ancient Near East." Pages 122-57 in vol. 1 of The Ameri- 
can Historical Association s Guide to Historical Literature. Edited by 
M.B. Norton. 2 vols. 3 rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 

'angurinnu." Wiener Zeitschrift fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes 86 (1996; 
Festschrift fur Hans Hirsch) 233-4. 

'Divination, Magic, and Astrology in the Assyrian Royal Court." Pages 161— 
4 in Assyria 1995. Edited by S. Parpola and R. M. Whiting. Helsinki: The 
Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1997. 

'qabutu, sahu and me qdti." Pages 2A3—A in Assyriologica et Semitica. 
Festschrift fur Joachim Oelsner. Edited by J. Marzahn and H. Neumann. 
Alter Orient und Altes Testament 252. Miinster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2000. 

'Summa Alu LXXIX." Pages 259-84 in Festschrift fur Burkhart Kienast: zu 
seinem 70. Geburtstag dargebracht von Freunden, Schiilern und Kollegen. 
Edited by GJ. Selz. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 274. Miinster: 
Ugarit-Verlag, 2003. [with B. Kienast] 

'Three Babylonian Chronicle and Scientific Texts." Pages 203-12 in From 
the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea: Studies on the History of Assyria and 
Babylonia in Honour of A.K. Grayson. Edited by G. Frame. Publica- 
tions de l'lnstitut Historique-Archeologique Neerlandais de Stamboul / 
Uitgaven van het Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Is- 
tanbul. Leiden: The Netherlands Institute for the Near East, 2004. [with 
C. B.F.Walker] 

'Omens from Abnormal Births: Summa izbu." Pages 1 88-92, Text Nos. 40-1 
in Literary and Scholastic Texts of the First Millennium B.C. Edited by 
I. Spar and WG Lambert. Cuneiform Texts in the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art 2. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. 


Publications of Erie Verdun Leichty 

"Some Speculative History." From the Workshop of the Assyrian Dictionary 
2: Studies Presented to Robert D. Biggs. Edited by Walter Farber, Martha 
T. Roth, and Matthew W. Stolper. Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2006, 


Review of H.W. F. Saggs, The Greatness that was Babylon. American An- 
thropologist 65 ( 1 963) 407-8 . 

Review of A. Salonen, Die Mobel des alten Mesopotamien . Wiener Zeitschrift 
fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes 57 (1967) 239—40. 

Review of D. B. Weisberg, Guild Structure and Political Allegiance in Early 
Achaemenid Mesopotamia. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 29 (1970) 

Review of W. G. Lambert and A.R. Millard, A Catalogue of the Cuneiform 
Tablets in the Kouyunjik Collection of the British Museum, Second Sup- 
plement. Journal of the American Oriental Society 91 (1971) 529. 

Review of R. D. Biggs, SA.ZI.GA. Ancient Mesopotamian Potency Incanta- 
tions. Journal of the American Oriental Society 91 (1971) 529. 

Review of E. C. Stone and RE. Zimansky, Old Babylonian Contracts from 
Nippur I. Selected Texts from the University Museum, University of 
Pennsylvania. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 29 (1977) 123-5. 


"A. Leo Oppenheim." Journal of the American Oriental Society 95 (1975) 

"Ignace J. Gelb." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 142 



A List of Fragments Rejoined in the Kuyunjik Collection of the British 

Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1960. 
Shepherd's Historical Atlas. 9 th ed. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1964. 

[revision of ancient Near Eastern maps] 
The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 

Vols. A/I (1964), A/II (1968), B (1965), I/J (1960). Chicago: The Oriental 

The Sumerian Dictionary of the University Museum of the University of 

Pennsylvania, Vols. A/I (1992), A/II (1994), A/III (1998), B (1984). 

Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Museum. 
Peter J. Huber. Astronomical Dating of Babylon I and Ur III. Monographic 


Publications of Erie Verdun Leichty 

Journals of the Near East, Occasional Papers on the Near East 1/4. 
Malibu, Calif.: Undena Publications, 1982. [with A. Sachs, M. Stol, 
R. M. Whiting, C. B. F. Walker, and G. van Driel] 

Editorial Work 

A Scientific Humanist. Studies in Memory of Abraham Sachs. Occasional 
Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 9. Philadelphia: The Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania Museum, 1988. [with M. del Ellis and P. Gerardi] 

Expedition 14 (1971)- 15 (1973) 

Journal of Cuneiform Studies 24/3 (1972) - 42/1 (1990) 

Occasional Publications of the Babylonian Fund / Occasional Publications 
of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 1-16 (1976-present) 



Tzvi Abusch 

Among the many Akkadian texts published by Professor Erie Leichty is a 
recipe prescribing the use of plants against witchcraft. 1 Thus, I hope that 
this modest study of the form and development of a type of prescription that 
also makes use of plants against witchcraft will serve as a token of tribute 
and thanks to Erie for the many important contributions that he has made to 
our knowledge of Standard Babylonian literature through his catalogs and 

Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft literature contains a variety of types of 
prescriptions and ritual instructions intended to cure or protect a person 
against various forms of witchcraft. Recipes against witchcraft often pre- 
scribe the use of plants for therapeutic or apotropaic purposes. An example 
of a tablet containing this kind of material is BAM 190. This tablet is a 
collection of prescriptions against witchcraft, all of which utilize potions 
and have plants as their primary medicinal element. As we shall see, from 
a textual point of view most of these prescriptions are based upon lists of 
plants. Let us look at the second prescription on BAM 190 and related texts, 2 

A. BAM 190 obv 9-21 II BAM 59 obv. 1-12. 

B. K 4164 + K 1 1691 +Rm 352 (+) K 4176 (BAM 430) IV 7'-24' // 
K 9684 + K 9999 + Sm 341 +Rm 328 (BAM 431) IV 2-19. 

C. K 6053 (BAM 438) obv. 1-27 // Rm 950 (BAM 437) obv. l'-6'. 3 

Starting first with group A, we note that the prescription on BAM 190 obv. 
9-21 // BAM 59 obv. 1-12 records a list of plants totaling 36 plants for 
usburruda, "to release witchcraft," that have been tested ( r 36 n [U US n. BUR. 
RUDA 4 ] r sa ana 1 qatesusu), followed by ritual instructions to the effect that 
the plants are to be ingested with either beer, [wine], water, oil, or diluted 

1 "Guaranteed to Cure," in Studies Sachs 261 — 4. 

2 These texts are part of a comprehensive edition of Mesopotamian witchcraft literature being 
prepared by Daniel Schwemer and the present author. 

3 Rm 950 (BAM 437) obv. l'-6' contains part of the list of plants (// BAM 190 obv. 12-17, 
etc.); the text is fragmentary, but in view of the fact that Rm 950 rev. duplicates material on 
the reverse of K 6053 (BAM 438): I have supposed that it should be assigned to group C along 
with K 6053 (BAM 438) obv. 

4 The reading U USn.BUR.RU.DA is attested on K 4164+ (BAM 430), K 9684+ (BAM 431), 
and K 6053 (BAM 438). 

Tzvi Abusch 

beer, or in dry form (lu ina sikari resti lu [ina karani] lu ina me lu ina Samni 
lu ina hiqati r istanattP lu tablla anaplsu tanaddi). 

But the prescription is recorded in other forms as well. For in group B, 
K 4164+ (BAM 430) IV 7'-24' and K 9684+ (BAM 431) IV 2-19 duplicate 
only BAM 1 90 obv. 9-1 9a // BAM 59 obv. 1-9 from group A (with the notable 
exception that they record 37 rather than 36 U USn.BUR.RU.DA) and do 
not contain the last two and one-half lines, that is, the statement that the 
plants had been tested and the ritual instructions. Thus, these two texts from 
group B provide only the list of plants and the numerical total of plants for 

Finally, group C, the unit K 6053 (BAM 438) obv. 1-27 // Rm 950 (BAM 
437), like group A [BAM 190 obv. 9-21 II BAM 59 obv. 1-12], records in obv. 
16b-27 the list of plants, the summary total 37 plants for usburruda that have 
been tested and ritual instructions (omitting the instruction to administer the 
drugs in a dry form). However, K 6053 (BAM 438) obv. 1-27 adds materials 
at the beginning of the unit. Thus, prior to the list of plants and the ritual, K 
6053 (BAM 438) obv. 1-27 contains a lengthy symptomology (obv. 1-1 3a), 
a diagnosis (obv. 13b— 14), and a statement of the purpose of the ritual (obv. 
13b— 14); these components serve to introduce the ritual prescription itself. 

The variant forms of the text are most informative regarding the formation 
of this type of prescription. I should explain the existence and relationship 
of the different sets of related texts as follows. The basic list of plants in 
group B [K 4164+ (BAM 430) // K 9684+ (BAM 431)] is to be regarded as 
the historical kernel. To this list, first, ritual instructions were appended in 
group A [BAM 1 90 // BAM 59] to record or explicate how the ritual was to be 
performed; subsequently introductory information was prefaced in group C 
[K 6053 (BAM 438)] to record when and why the ritual was to be performed. 

This hypothesis makes sense of the data and teaches us not a little about 
the formation of Mesopotamian therapeutic texts. Further support for this 
explanation is provided by an observation that I made elsewhere regarding 
some prescriptions that utilize stones. 5 I noted that in a number of cases 
where lists of stones are included as part of ritual instructions, the lists derive 
from a text-type that listed stones followed by their number and a statement 
of either the purpose for which or the situation in which these stones were to 
be used. Lists of this type were originally recorded for purposes of inventory, 
reference, or the like, and were not prescriptions. However, composers of 
prescriptive ritual instructions sometimes drew upon texts of this type when 

5 "Witchcraft and the Anger of the Personal God," in Mesopotamian Magic: Textual, Historical, 
and Interpretive Perspectives (ed. T. Abusch and K. van der Toorn; AMD 1 ; Groningen: Styx, 
1999) 115-7; republished as: T. Abusch, Mesopotamian Witchcraft: Towards a History and 
Understanding of Babylonian Witchcraft Beliefs and Literature (AMD 5; Groningen/Leiden: 
Styx/Brill, 2002) 58-9. 

Lists of Therapeutic Plants: An Observation 

they wished to enumerate the items that were to be used in a ritual, sometimes 
just providing a bare list, at other times integrating the list into proper ritual 

Not surprisingly, a similar situation obtained in the case of some texts that 
contained lists of plants. Making use of such lists, composers of prescrip- 
tive rituals might add ritual instructions and occasionally even information 
regarding the circumstances under which the ritual was to be used. 

Finally, I should mention that the enumeration of 36/37 plants in the 
recipes studied here provides additional prescriptions of this sort originally 
derive from lists and even tells us something about the intended use of the 
list in the prescription form studied here. Normally, therapeutic prescriptions 
against witchcraft prescribe the use of only several plants. We may infer, 
then, both from the large number of plants enumerated and from the textual 
forms, that recipes of this type did not intend the ingestion of such a large 
number of plants as part of one therapy. Rather, the composer intended to 
provide a list from which one could select the plants for the specific ritual. 
This, then, supports our claim that in composing these and similar therapeutic 
prescriptions, the composer drew upon written inventories or similar lists. 


Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

The first time I sat down to engage in conversation with Erie he said to me 
out of the blue, and with genuine passion: "Museums are fun!" Taken out 
of context this may sound like an odd statement, but I knew immediately 
what he meant, and why he said it. Both of us were engaged at that time in 
cataloguing large collections of cuneiform tablets, he at the British Museum 
with the Sippar Collection, and I at Yale with all the "late" texts. Few scholars 
ever enjoy the privilege of having access to a large body of source material 
which no other eyes have scrutinized in detail before. Of course not every 
text you read generates excitement, but you know that inevitably the rare 
gem will turn up, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps next week, but it will happen! 
It is this excitement of discovery which Erie wanted to share, the elation 
of prying into the life of a long vanished civilization, of being the very 
first scholar to discover a really important piece of evidence. Every time 
we have met since, we have not failed to discuss our mutual discoveries, 
and it is always stimulating for me to feel his infectious enthusiasm, even 
for the smaller details yielded by cuneiform documents. Therefore it is 
with great pleasure that I present to him as a token of esteem one of 
these small gems which I had the good fortune to discover in the Yale 
Babylonian Collection. The text in question is YBC 11549 (Figs. 1 and 
2). Based on the tablet's contents its provenance is obviously Babylon, 
and as I will discuss below, it dates almost certainly to the 4th century 
BC. The lower end of the tablet, corresponding to about 1/3 of the original 
size, is lost, and the measurements of the remaining portion are 55x65x31 


The importance of this text jumps to the eyes at the reading of the incipit. It 
consists of a list of amounts of barley allotted to a collegium of astronomers 
(tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil) for an entire year. These "experts in celestial 
matters" appear sporadically in cuneiform sources dating from the 7th to 
the 2nd centuries BC. However, texts documenting their activities are not 
evenly distributed chronologically, as they tend to cluster at the two ends of 
this temporal spectrum, during the Neo-Assyrian and late Seleucid periods. 
The addition of the present text to our corpus is therefore most welcome, 
as it contains important information on the status of the tupsar Enuma 

1 I wish to thank Profs. William W. Hallo and Benjamin R. Foster for permission to publish 
this text and Ulla Kasten for facilitating its study. 

Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

Ann Enlil during the 4th century BC, a crucial period which witnessed the 
elaboration of the most important aspects of late Babylonian mathematical 

YBC 11549 

1 r SE\BAR SUKHA "UMBISAG U 4 - ^a-nu-^en-lil-ld sd ">BAR 

2 MU 6-KAM EN TIL ">SE MU 6 ina SUMIN ' SES. r MES n -[o o] 

3 1 (GUR) "BE-MU A ^su-ma-a 

4 1 (GUR) W BE-A-MU A "BE-MU 

5 1 (GUR) Hib-lut A Id SU-MU-GIS 

6 1 (GUR) 'TIN A Id SU-MU- r GIS n 

7 r l (GUR)" 1 IUMUN-A-MU A 'UMUN-TIN-™ 

8 r l (GUR)" 1 'UMUN-TIN-/? A 'UMUN-SES.MES-MU 

9 [1 (GUR)] iUMUN-TIN-^M A n [^a-ra-bi 

10 [1 (GUR)] WBE-TIN-5M A [iJ^BE-IGI 

1 1 [1 (GUR)] r ™UGUR-SUH-SUR A vicT-d[i-ia] 

12 [1 (GUR) 1 ] r xxxxxxx n 

a few lines missing 


1' r x X X X X X x x n 

2' r 14 (GUR) n SE.BAR SUK "APIN MU 6-KA[M] 

3' r 14 (GUR) 1 SE.BAR SUK "'GAN MU 6-KAM 


5' 14 (GUR) SE.BAR SUK iti ZIZ MU 6-<KAM> 



1 Barley for the allowance of the astronomers, from the month Nisannu 

2 until the end of the month Addaru of the 6th year, in the care of Ahhe-[o o]. 

3 1 (kurru): Ea-iddin, son of Suma; 

4 1 (kurru): Ea-aplu-iddin, son of Ea-iddin; 

5 1 (kurru): Liblut, son of Marduk-sumu-Hsir; 

6 1 (kurru): Balatu, son of Marduk-sumu-lTsir; 

7 1 (kurru): Bel-aplu-iddin, son of Bel-bullissu; 

8 1 (kurru): Bel-uballit, son of Bel-ahhe-iddin; 

9 [1 (kurru)]: Bel-bullissu, son of Arabi; 

10 [1 (kurru)]: Ea-bullissu, son of Ea-lumur(?); 

11 [1 (kurru)]: Nergal-tesi-etir, son of Iddi[ia]; 

12 [1 (kurru)]: r x x x x x x x" 1 

The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 


1' r xxxxxxxx n 

2' r 14 (kurrusy of barley, allowance of the month Arahsamnu, year < 

3' r 14 (kurrusy of barley, allowance of the month KislTmu, year 6; 

4' 14 (kurrus) of barley, allowance of the month Tebetu, year 6; 

5' 14 (kurrus) of barley, allowance of the month Sabatu, year 6; 

6' 14 (kurrus) of barley, allowance of the month Addaru, year 6. 

Date, Provenance, and Content of the Text 

Although the date formula found in the incipit gives only a year number 
without mentioning the name of the reigning king, there are a number of 
indications which converge to ensure a probable, if not virtually certain 
dating to the 4th century BC. First of all the latest possible dates for our 
text would be the 6th regnal years of Philip III Arrhidaeus, Antigonos 
Monophthalmos, or Alexander IV (the son of Alexander the Great), which 
are all attested in cuneiform administrative documents and fall, according to 
the most recent reconstruction of the chronology of that period in the years 
318/317, 312/311, and 311/310 BC, respectively. 2 A lower dating seems 
impossible as the following reign, that of Seleucus I, begins with the 8th year 
(304/303 BC), this being the earliest year of that king attested in a cuneiform 
archival document, after which dating became cumulative and eventually led 
to the institution of the Seleucid and Arsacid eras. 3 A dating prior to the 
4th century, on the other hand seems difficult, given the presence of certain 
features in YBC 1 1549 which are typical of late administrative and scholarly 
texts, such as the sign BAR instead of BARA as logogram for the month 
Nisannu, and the use of the sign U with the reading UMUN for the element 

2 For these dates see T. Boiy, "Dating Methods During the Early Hellenistic Period," JCS 52 

3 The only possible exception is BRM 2 5 1 , a text from Larsa dated to the 6th year of an 
enigmatic king named Arsiuqqa. Against the interpretation of this as the throne name Arsaces 
claimed by every Parthian king one must note that the year number is impossible for the 
Arsacid era. On the other hand, Arsiuqqa can be identified with no other known royal name 
of the first millennium. Edition with collations by L. T. Doty, "Cuneiform Archives from 
Hellenistic Uruk" (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1978) 1 1 3 — 4. Discussion of the date formula 
by K. Kessler, "Eine arsakidenzeitliche Urkunde aus Warka," BaM 15 (1984) 281, n. 17; 
J. Oelsner, "Ein Beitrag zu keilschriftlichen Konigstitulaturen in hellenistischer Zeit," ZA 56 
(1964) 270, n. 28. Most recent discussion by R.J. van der Spek, "Cuneiform Documents 
on Parthian History: The Rahimesu Archive," in Das Partherreich und seine Zeugnisse (ed. 
Josef Wiesehofer; Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1996) 208. My own collation of the text 
confirms that the place of the transaction is Larsa ( r UD*' l .UNUG ki ) but does not lead to any 
improvement in our understanding of the royal name. See now F Joannes, "Les debuts de 
l'epoque hellenistique a Larsa," in Studies Huot 257. 

Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

Bel in personal names. 4 The only other possible 4th century rulers to whose 
reigns our text could be dated are the Achaemenid kings Artaxerxes II and 
III, whose 6th regnal years fell in 399/398 BC and 353/352 BC, respectively. 

The near exclusive presence of names formed with the divine elements 
Ea, Bel, and Marduk ensures that the place of origin of our text is Babylon. 
The physical aspect of the tablet, which is rather thick and coarse, and the 
paleography, with typically large signs provided with ample spacing between 
them, is typical of some administrative tablets from Babylon dated to the 
late Achaemenid and Macedonian periods. This also concurs with the dating 
to the 4th century proposed herewith, although it does not per se prove it. 
The very contents of YBC 11549 signal an institutional context, and since 
one cannot at present imagine any other institution in Babylon besides the 
Esagil temple as the possible sponsor of a collegium of astronomers in 
the 4th century BC, then the text must in all likelihood be assigned to the 
archive of that temple. This archive is represented by a growing number of 
administrative documents dated to the same period in particular lists of food 
and clothing allotments which share many features with YBC 1 1549. 

In spite of the incomplete character of our text, its internal organization 
is nevertheless clear. The incipit tells us that the purpose of the text is to 
record the amounts of barley allotted to the astronomers for a period of one 
year. The obverse contains a list of personal names with individual filiation, 
all preceded by the quantity of one (kurru), and then the reverse apparently 
listed all the months of the year, each preceded by the notation "fourteen 
(kurrus) of barley, allowance of the month so-and-so." Therefore we should 
expect that the obverse originally contained the names of fourteen individual 
astronomers, each receiving a monthly food allowance of one kurru of barley, 
and that the reverse accordingly recorded an expenditure of fourteen kurrus 
for each month of the year. 

Given the generally accepted capacity of ca. 0.84 liter for the qu in 
Babylonia and the division of the kurru into 1 80 qus in that period it appears 
that each astronomer received a daily allowance of about 5 liters of barley. 
This was a substantial amount, enough to feed a small family, 5 and indeed 
the wives of temple employees appear as recipients of the commodities in 
some lists of allotments from the Esagil archive, while male employees often 
appear together with their brothers and sons listed as co-recipients. All in 
all the amounts distributed were probably not substantially different from 
rations given to workers in the earlier periods of Mesopotamian history. For 

4 Although the writing UMUN for Bel is attested in personal names from end of the Achaeme- 
nid period until the Arsacid period, the vast majority of attestations come specifically from 4th 
century texts, and are particularly common in lists of allotments from the Esagil archive. 

5 Wages in that period and the daily caloric requirement in barley are discussed at length by 
van der Spek, "Rahimesu Archive" 246-53. 

The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 

instance, the normal barley rations (se-ba) of a gurus during the Ur III period 
equaled 60 qus per month, less than 2 liters per day, while women usually 
received 30 qus and children 20 qus. 6 It is also probable that recipients of 
the barley allotments regularly traded their surplus on the staples market for 
silver, which in turn may have been used to buy other commodities. In the 
4th century the Babylonian economy was still largely non-monetary despite 
the introduction of coinage by the Achaemenids. 

Besides barley, lists from the Esagil archive also record allotments of 
wool and dates to the temple employees. These three staples also appear in 
contracts from Uruk dated to the Seleucid period as the basic allotments 
linked to prebendary offices. BRM 2, 31 is particularly interesting in this 
regard. It records a quitclaim on food and clothing allotments (kurummatu) 
amounting to 12 kurrus of barley, 12 kurrus of dates, and 30 minas of wool, 
paid by the treasury (makkuru) of the god Anu and the temples of Uruk. 
Although the text makes no specification in this regard, it is highly probable 
that these were annual allowances. Indeed, the amount of barley mentioned 
in it, 12 kurrus, is identical with the annual amount of barley allotted to each 
astronomer in YBC 1 1549. MLC 2651 (= YOS 20 92) records a transaction 
on an identical allotment (12 kurrus of barley, 12 kurrus of dates, and 1/2 
talent of wool), but stipulates that the sale affects only 1/3 of the full amount. 
BRM 2 33 contains similar information. It records a sale of the right to half 
of the quantities listed in BRM 2 31 and MLC 265 1, but since the transaction 
stipulates that this is only part of a jointly held share, one can conclude that 
it probably equaled half of a normal yearly amount. Finally a transaction on 
an allotment of 6 kurrus of barley, 6 kurrus of dates, and 15 minas of wool 
is recorded in OECT 9 48, which probably also represents half of the full 
yearly amount for a prebendal office. 

Lists of Allotments from the Esagil Archive 

The Esagil archive to which YBC 11549 belongs was first identified and 
studied by Joannes in TEBR 331-51 under the title "Listes du IVe siecle." 7 
He was able to collect twenty-five such texts, including six texts previously 
published in CT 49 (nos. 12, 13, 1 5, 24, 25, and 27), one text from Berlin (VS 6 
293), two texts from the Bodleian Library published since by him in autograph 
copies (OECT 12 texts B2 and B7), and sixteen new texts from the Louvre 
(TEBR nos. 91-106). He further divided these lists into two groups according 
to their format and content: "Listes de distributions a des hommes" (pp. 334- 

6 I.J. Gelb, "The Ancient Mesopotamian Ration System," JNES 24 (1965) 230-43. 

7 TEBR = F. Joannes, Textes economiques de la Babylonie recente (Paris: Editions Recherches 
sur les Civilisations, A.D.P.F., 1982). 

Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

44) and "Listes de distributions a des femmes" (pp. 344-9); he also added 
a third group named "Listes paralleles" consisting of three additional texts 
(TEBR nos. 107-9), which display a slightly different format (pp. 349-51). 
Since these lists form a homogeneous group and some of them are dated to the 
reigns of Philip III and Alexander IV, he assigned the texts dated to the reigns 
of Artaxerxes and Darius to Artaxerxes III and Darius III, respectively. Thus 
reconstructed the group extends from the 3rd and 4th years of Artaxerxes III 
(356/354 BC) 8 to the 1 1th year of Alexander IV (306/305 BC). 

Since Joannes' study many more texts from this archive have been 
published or identified in museums. Twenty-one texts and fragments were 
published by McEwan in OECT 10. More recently Jursa published one text 
in Iraq 59 (1997) no. 50, and added references to three texts from CT 44 
not included by Joannes in his study (CT 44 84, 85, and 86), as well as to 
six unpublished texts, five from the British Museum (BM 16894, 17164, 
78948, 78949, and 78957), and one from the Vorderasiatisches Museum 
(VAT 6453). 9 I can now add the following unpublished texts to the list: 
HSM 893. 5.6, 10 893.5.8, 893.5.24, and 893.5.25; EAH 241, 255, 258, and 
260; NBC 11484; and YBC 11405. Finally, possibly as many as eighty 
additional lists in the collections of the British Museum have been catalogued 
and identified in the past few years and are still awaiting publication, and 
many more similar texts are certainly lying in the drawers of museums. 11 

In his initial study of the lists Joannes refrained from ascribing them to 
a specific archival context, stressing however that from their content they 
definitely belonged to the Babylon and Borsippa area. The only text with a 
specific indication of location is TEBR no. 96, which mentions the musicians 
of the Ezida temple. However, all other internal indications, mainly the 
personal names, point to Babylon and most probably to its main temple as 
the place of origin of the lists. Their attribution to the archive of the Esagil 
temple, which I proposed in CBCY 1, has generally been accepted. 12 As for 

8 This text is VS 6 293. Joannes, TEBR 333, n. 2, notes that according to Ungnad's copy 
the reading of the broken royal name could also be l p\i-li-ip-su LUGAL], and therefore an 
attribution to the reign of Philip III might be possible. The reading 1 a[r-tak]-' 'sat-su* [LUGAL] 
is equally likely. 

9 M. Jursa, "Neu- und spatbabylonische Texte aus den Sammlungen der Birmingham Museums 
and Art Gallery," Iraq 59 (1997) 129-33, text no. 50 (copy on pp. 170-1). 

10 This is a list of allotments to the asipus from the reign of Philip III. CT 49 126, a letter 
order, also concerns delivery of allotments of barley to the asipus. HSM 893.5.6 is briefly 
discussed by T. Boiy, "Dating in Early Hellenistic Babylonia: Evidence on the Basis of CT 49 
13, 1982A.1853 and HSM 1893.5.6," NABU 1998/134. 

11 See M. Sigrist, H.H. Figulla, and C.B.E Walker, Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in 
the British Museum, volume II (London: British Museum Publications, 1996), and especially 
the important review by R. Zadok, AfO 44/45 (1997-1998) 293-306. Many texts from Yale, 
the Hoffman Collection (EAH), and the British Museum will be included by T. Boiy in the 
published version of his doctoral dissertation. 

12 CBCY 1 = P. -A. Beaulieu, Late Babylonian Texts in the Nies Babylonian Collection 


The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 

the mention of the Ezida in TEBR no. 96, the best solution is probably to 
understand it as a reference to Ezida, the cella of Nabu in the Esagil temple 
in Babylon, rather than to the Ezida temple of Borsippa. At any rate, the 
very fact that the name of the temple is specified in this one particular case 
highlights the exceptional character of the delivery and certainly means that 
the Ezida was not the regular locus of such transactions. 13 

The format of these lists is simple. The heading states the commodity 
allotted (e.g., uttetu, lubaru), the purpose of the allotment (e.g., kurummatu, 
lubustu), the recipients (e.g., ummdnu, Icalu), the period covered (months 
so-and-so of year so-and-so of king so-and-so), and the official in charge of 
the distribution (ina qati PN). The rest of the tablet lists the quantities with 
the names of the recipients, and in many cases the text has a subscription 
recapitulating the information. A well-preserved example of a heading very 
similar to that of YBC 1 1549 is the following: 

OECT 10 202 

1 SE.BAR SUK.HA ^um-ma-nu u MlMES-su-nu 

2 sd «AB u itiZIZ MU 22-KAM ^dr-tak-sat-si LUGAL 

3 sd ina SU.MIN Id EN-taZ>-ta«-TIN-i? A 'MU-URI 

4 '"EN mi-in-du 

Barley for the allowance of the craftsmen and their wives for the months 
Tebetu and Sabatu of the 22nd year of king Artaxerxes, in the care of 
Bel-tabtani-bullit, son of Sum-usur, the provisioning official. 

The title bel mindi, "provisioning official," occurs quite often in texts from 
the Esagil archive, especially in letter orders, and there is little doubt that 
these officials were in charge of the distribution of allotments, wages, 
salaries, and prebendal incomes for the temple administration. A provisioning 
official of the astronomers is mentioned in CT 49 181:2. '"EN mi-in-du sd 
'"UMBISAG U4- r AN n -[ d EN.LiL]. However, the provisioning official named 
in YBC 11549, Ahhe-[o o], bears no title and does not occur in any other 
lists of allotments from the Esagil archive. 

The various occupations which entitled individuals to allotments of barley, 
dates, wool, and garments according to the extant lists are the following: 14 

(CBCY 1; Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 1994) 6. The attribution to the Esagil archive is also 
proposed by Zadok, AfO 44/45 (1997/1998) 293-306, and accepted by Jursa, Iraq 59 (1997) 

13 All this is pointed out by Jursa, Iraq 59 (1997) 132. On the Ezida cella within the Esagil 
temple see A. George, House Most High: The Temples of Ancient Mesopotamia (MC 5; Winona 
Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1995) no. 1237. 

14 Zadok, AfO 44/45 (1997/98) 303, lists a few more occupations possibly appearing in 
unpublished lists from the British Museum, such as "builder" (itinnu) and "weaver" (isparu), 
but the readings of the words are uncertain. 


Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

astronomer (tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil) 

baker (nuhatimmu) 

butcher (tabihu) 

carpenter (nagdru) 

carpenter of processional boat of Marduk (nagar s i§ MA.TUS.A) 

cook (mubannu) 

craftsman (ummdnu) 

cultic singer (kalu) 

exorcist (asipu) 

goldsmith (kutimmu) 

leather worker (askapu) 

measurer {mandidu) 

miller (ararru) 

musician {nam) 

nobleman (mar bani) i5 

the rab bani from the city (rab banisa muhhi all) 

reed worker (atkuppu) 

scribe (tupsarru) 

smith (nappdhu) 

temple slave (sirku) 

watchman (massaru) 

[o o o] of the juniper garden ([o o o] kiri burdsi) 16 

All the occupations mentioned in the lists are typical of the personnel of a 
late Babylonian temple. Whether all of them should be defined as prebendal 
offices is a moot point. Many of them certainly were, but firmer evidence 
is still lacking in some cases. 17 The sole fact that they are all attested as 
recipients ofkurummatu is insufficient to determine their status, as the word 
refers in the Neo- and Late Babylonian period to allowances of food and 
other commodities given by the temple to a wide variety of individuals from 
all venues, from the temple slaves (sirku) to the king. In cases where the word 
kurummatu refers to the sustenance given to workers performing compulsory 
labor one is justified in retaining the translation "rations," but in most cases 
such translations as "allotment" or "allowance" are preferable. 

The astronomers are not the only intellectual occupation mentioned in 
these lists, and certainly not the most prominent in terms of numbers. Three 
texts list allowances for the kalus "cultic singers" or their wives (BM 78948; 
CT 44 84; Iraq 59 [1997] no. 50), and one text lists those of the asipus 

15 This term denoting social status appears in CT 44 86 rev. 28', but it is unclear whether it 
describes the recipients of commodities listed in the preceding section. 

16 This incomplete title appears in a broken context in the subscription of the list CT 49 13, 
and it is therefore not certain that it is the name of an occupation. 

17 G.J. P. McEwan, Priest and Temple in Hellenistic Babylonia (FAOS 4; Wiesbaden: Franz 
Steiner Verlag, 1981) 67-120 for an extensive discussion of prebendal offices in that period. 


The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 

"exorcists" (HSM 893.5.6). One text even mentions the tupsarrus "scribes" 
(TEBR no. 103), unless the logogram SID in this case must be understood 
as sangu and refers to a cultic function. CT 44 84 contains the names of no 
fewer than fifty individual cultic singers entitled to distributions of clothing, 
and HSM 893.5.6 mentions an even larger number of exorcists, with at least 
sixty-six individual entries preserved on a tablet only about half extant. 

Here follows a table (Table 1) with the lists of allotments from the Esagil 
archive. 18 The chronology of the texts poses some problems for transactions 
dated to the reigns of Alexander and Artaxerxes, since in both cases we have 
the choice between two homonymous rulers who reigned in the 4th century 
(Alexander III and his son Alexander IV, and Artaxerxes II and III). In order 
to keep the texts in a reasonably continuous chronological group I assume that 
transactions dated after year 21 of Artaxerxes belong to Artaxerxes II, while 
those dated between years 1 and 2 1 belong to Artaxerxes III, even though 
this classification will seem arbitrary in some cases. Texts certainly dated to 
Alexander IV are those which clearly state "Alexander son of Alexander," or 
else those with year numbers which exclude Alexander III. 19 


Table 1: Lists of Allotments from the Esagil Archive 

Allotment Recipients Date 

BM 16894 



Alexander IV year 4, 
month 6 

BM 17164 



Artaxerxes [o o o] 

BM 78948 


wives of the cultic 

Alexander IV(?) year 1 

BM 78949 


rab bani [sa muhhi ali] 

Alexander IV(?) [o o o] 

BM 78957 



Alexander IV(?) year 
10, month 11 

CT 44 84 

for clothing 

cultic singers 

Antigonos year 6, 
month 3 

continued on next page 

18 Information on unpublished texts in the British Museum and on VAT 6453 is taken from 
Jursa, Iraq 59 (1997) 132. Information which is unavailable is represented by dotted lines. The 
many unpublished texts in the British Museum mentioned by Zadok in AfO 44/45 ( 1 997-1 998) 
293-306 are not included here. 

19 Boiy, "Dating Methods" 118: attested are Alexander III years and 8-13, and Alexander IV 
year 1, 2, 4, and 6-11. 


Paul-Alain Beaulieu 





CT 44 85 

barley for 

carpenters of 
processional boat 

[o o o] from year 10, 
month 9, to year 1 1, 
month 3 

CT 44 86 

[o o o o o o] 

mar banis and 

[o o o o o o] 

CT 49 12 

barley for 

male PNs 

Philip III [o o o] 

CT 49 13 

[o o o o o o] 

[o o o] of the juniper 
garden (g' s KIRI 6 §im LI); 
male PNs 

Alexander IV(?) year 2, 
month 3 

CT 49 15 

barley for 

male PNs 

Alexander IV year 6 [o 
o o] 

CT 49 24 

barley for 

rab bani sa muhhi all 

Alexander IV(?) year 9 
[o o o] 

CT 49 25 

[o o o o o o] 


Alexander IV year 1 1 , 
all months 

CT 49 27 

wool for 


Alexander IV year 
[o]+l [o o o] 

E AH 241 

barley for 

reed workers 

Artaxerxes III year 12, 
month 10 

EAH 255 

[o o o] for 

male PNs 

[o o o] year 12, month 7 

EAH 258 

barley for 


Artaxerxes III year 18, 
months [o o] and 3 

EAH 260 

barley for 

female PNs 

[o o o] year 1 1+, until 
end of month 2 

HSM 893.5.6 

[o o o o o o] 


Philip III year 3(?), 
month 2 

HSM 893.5.8 



[o o o o o o] 

HSM 893.5.24 

[o o o o o o] 

female PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

HSM 893.5.25 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

Jursa, Iraq 59 
(1997) no. 50 

barley for 

cultic singers, 

Alexander IV(?) year 9, 
month 12 

NBC 1 1484 [o o o o o o] 

temples slaves 
( 14 PA.K[AB.DU.MES]); 
several PNs are further 
designated as susdnus 

Artaxerxes III year 2, 
months 1 and 2. 

continued on next page 


The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 





OECT 10 196 

barley for 

goldsmiths, carpenters 

Artaxerxes III(?) year 
10+, months 3 and 4 

OECT 10 202 

barley for 

craftsmen and their 

Artaxerxes II year 22, 
months 10 and 11 

OECT 10 206 

barley for 


Artaxerxes II years 3 1 
and 32, months 12 and 

OECT 10 207 

barley for 

craftsmen, namely 
goldsmiths and 

Artaxerxes II year 33, 
months 1 and 2 

OECT 10 208 

barley for 

wives of the craftsmen 

Artaxerxes II year 33, 
months 6 and 7 

OECT 10 210 

barley for 

wives of the craftsmen 

Artaxerxes II year 34, 
months 4 and 5 

OECT 10 213 

barley for 

leather workers and 
their wives 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 214 

barley for 

wives of the goldsmiths 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 215 

barley for 

wives of the [o o o o o] 

Artaxerxes [o o o] 

OECT 10 216 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 217 

barley for 

male PNs 

Artaxerxes [o o o] 

OECT 10 218 

barley for 

male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 219 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 220 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

Artaxerxes [o o o] 

OECT 10 221 

[o o o o o o] 

female and male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 222 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

Artaxerxes [o o o] 

OECT 10 223 


wives of the craftsmen, 
namely goldsmiths and 
leather workers 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 224 

[o o o o o o] 

female PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 225 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

Artaxerxes II year 33, 
month 3 

OECT 10 226 

barley for 

goldsmiths and smiths 

[o o o o o o] 

OECT 10 227 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

continued on next page 


Paul-Alain Beaulieu 





OECT 12 B2 

barley for 

wives of the cooks 

Year 5, months 3 to 5 

OECT 12 B7 

[o o o] for 

wives of the rab banisa 
muhhi all 

Artaxerxes III, from 
year 12, month 9, to 
year 13, month [o] 

TEBR 91 

[o o o] for 


Artaxerxes III year 15, 
month 12 

TEBR 92 

barley for 


Darius III [o o o], all 

TEBR 93 

barley for 

musicians, a watchman 
is mentioned 

[o o o o o o] 

TEBR 94 

barley for 

male PNs, a watchman 
is mentioned 

[o o o o o o] 

TEBR 95 

barley and 
dates for 


[o o o o o o] 

TEBR 96 

[o o o] for 


[o o o o o o], months 9 
to 11 

TEBR 97 

dates for 

male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

7E57? 98 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o] 

TEBR 99 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o] 

r£5# 100 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o] 

7/£5£ 101 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o] 

TEBR 102 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o] 

7/£5# 103 

[o O o o] 

wives of the scribes 

Artaxerxes III year 1 8 

TEBR 104 

[o o o o o o] 

female PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

T£57? 105 

wool for 

female PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

r£5£ 106 

wool for 

female PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

VAT 6453 



Alexander III year [o], 
months 2 and 3 

VS 6 293 

barley for 

wives of the rab banisa 
muhhi ali 

Artaxerxes III from 
year 3, month 9, to year 
4 [o o o] 

YBC 11405 

[o o o o o o] 

male PNs 

[o o o o o o] 

YBC 11549 

barley for 


Year 6, all months 


The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 

The tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil 

The members of this profession have been the subject of a few studies in the 
past two decades and therefore only certain points need to be made here. 20 
First it must be stressed that, despite the enormous importance of the astral 
sciences in late Mesopotamian culture, and the enduring reputation earned by 
Babylonian astronomy and astrology in the Classical world, we still have com- 
paratively few references in cuneiform sources to astronomers designated by 
the specific title tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil. Moreover, as already mentioned 
above, these references come almost entirely from the Neo-Assyrian and late 
Seleucid periods, leaving a gap of a few hundred years in between, which 
is now partly filled by YBC 1 1549. Neo-Assyrian references are scarce and 
uninformative, with the exception of SAA 7 no. 1, which lists a number 
of experts presumably residing at the Assyrian court. The first group (Col. 
I, 1-8) is made up of seven astronomers designated collectively as [PAP 7 
A.BA] UD-AN-BE "[total: seven tupsar] Enuma Anu Enlil!' Two individuals 
named in the list, Issar-sumu-eres and Balasi, are otherwise known from their 
correspondence with the king. It is noteworthy that already in the 7th century 
the tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil formed a distinct corps of officially employed 
specialists, and that their number was in a range comparable to the fourteen 
astronomers of the Esagil mentioned in YBC 1 1549. 

Evidence from the late Seleucid and early Parthian periods is much more 
detailed. The two most important texts are BOR 4 132 and CT 49 144, which 
record appointments to the post of astronomer by the administration of the 
Esagil temple. In both cases it is obvious that the position was hereditary, 
yet subject to some examination to evaluate the candidate's competence, and 
also that it came with a prebendal income in land and silver. The duties of the 
astronomers included primarily keeping the watch (nasaru) and preparing 
the tersltu and meshu, activities which some have proposed to identify as 
the compiling of astronomical diaries, ephemerides, and almanacs. 21 This 
emphasizes the changes which occurred in the profession over the centuries, 
from interpreter of the series Enuma Anu Enlil in the Neo-Assyrian period 
to observer, compiler, and quantifier of celestial phenomena in the Seleucid 

20 The main studies are McEwan, Priest and Temple 1 5-2 1 ; R. J. van der Spek, "The Babylonian 
Temple During the Macedonian and Parthian Domination," BiOr 42 (1985) 548-55; and 
F. Rochberg, "Scribes and Scholars: The tupsar Enma Anu Enlil," in Studies Oelsner 359- 
75. See also U. Koch-Westenholz, Mesopotamian Astrology (CNIP 19; Copenhagen: Museum 
Tusculanum Press, 1995) 56-73 and 162-79. 

21 A.J. Sachs and H. Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia (vol. 1 ; 
Wien: Verlag der Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1988) 11-2; F. Rochberg, 
"The Cultural Locus of Astronomy in Late Babylonia," in Die Rolle der Astronomie in den 
Kulturen Mesopotamiens (ed. Hannes D. Gaiter; Grazer Morgenlandische Studien 3; Graz: 
GrazKult, 1993) 41-2; and H. Hunger and D. Pingree, Astral Sciences in Mesopotamia (HdO 
1/44; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 270. 


Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

period. Arguably this signals a shift of scientific paradigm in the intervening 
centuries, one that Brown has recently characterized as the abandonment 
of a paradigm centered on the interpretation of the traditional corpus of 
celestial divination (the "Enuma-Anu-Enlil" paradigm) in favor of a more 
mathematically rigorous one seeking to predict celestial phenomena from 
exact calculations of their cycles of recurrence (the "Prediction of Celestial 
Phenomena" paradigm). 22 

Astronomers are attested not only at Babylon, but also at Uruk. In his 
1981 study of the Hellenistic temple in Babylonia McEwan proposed that the 
astronomers of Uruk, contrary to their counterparts from Babylon, did not 
form an independent professional class because they usually held the title 
of tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil concurrently with other functions such as asipu, 
kalu, and sesgallu (or ahu rabu). 23 As far as late 2nd century documents are 
concerned this theory cannot be upheld. CT 49 144, clearly from Babylon, 
mentions one Nabu-aplu-usur with the two titles of kalu and tupsar Enuma 
Anu Enlil, while BOR 4 132, from the same archive, gives the two titles of 
rab bani sa muhhi ali and tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil to an individual named 
Itti-Marduk-balatu. These three titles appear in the 4th century lists from the 
Esagil archive as separate occupations and all three were certainly prebendal 
offices. However, one could own shares in more than one prebend, and it is 
therefore not surprising to see individual scholars in both Uruk and Babylon 
claim various titles concurrently in the same document. This is true for the late 
Seleucid period. In the 4th century lists from the Esagil archive astronomers, 
cultic singers, and exorcists are listed separately. However, this is no reason 
to assume that titles could not be claimed concurrently in that period too. The 
occupation of tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil was a highly specialized one, but also 
one that required mastery of the scribal art and of the various branches of 
Mesopotamian scholarship. 24 The prominence of the corps of astronomers in 
Babylon and the fact that they defined themselves almost exclusively by that 
title, as opposed to the ones from Uruk who claimed as primary occupations 
the disciplines of asipu and kalu, may reflect only a different organization 
of scientific research. In short, astronomical research may have been more 
sharply defined centralized, and controlled in Babylon, and more importantly 
the occupation of astronomer was linked there to a prebend. At Uruk there is 
so far no evidence that the activity of astronomer entitled its practitioners to 
a separate prebendal income. Such income came from their other activities 
as kalu, asipu, or sesgallu. 

22 D. Brown, Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology (CM 1 8; Groningen: Styx, 2000), 
with my review in ZA 92 (2002) 153-5. 

23 McEwan, Priest and Temple 16. 

24 As pointed out by Rochberg, "Scribes and Scholars" 371, late 2nd century astronomers still 
copied literary texts such as Gilgames and Enuma Elis. 


The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 

The astronomers of Uruk during the Seleucid period claimed affiliation 
with two clans, the Sin-leqi-unninni and the Ekur-zakir. In documents from 
Babylon, on the other hand patronymics are rarely indicated except in the 
colophons of scholarly texts, and therefore we know very little about the 
family ancestry and relations of the astronomers. However, the ancestral name 
Musezib occurs in a few texts from Babylon dated between the 4th and 2nd 
centuries as the ancestor of individuals claiming the title tupsar Enuma Anu 
Enlil or otherwise involved in astral sciences. YBC 11549 indeed provides 
hints that astronomy was a close family affair in 4th century Babylon, with 
the possibility of three generations of astronomers on lines 3 and 4 (Ea- 
aplu-iddin, Ea-iddin, Suma), and two brothers with their father on lines 5 
and 6 (Liblut and Balatu, sons of Marduk-sumu-lTsir). Whether they were all 
descendants of Musezib is unknown. It is unfortunately impossible to find 
in astronomical texts from the 4th century any indisputable mention of the 
tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil appearing in YBC 1 1 549. Britton has reconstructed 
four generations of astronomers from father to son, descendants of Musezib, 
who were active in Babylon between ca. 340 and 280: Musallim-Bel, Bel- 
aplu-iddin, Marduk-sapik-zeri, and Iddin-Bel, with the addition of a possible 
relative named Itti-Marduk-balatu. 25 However, no correlation seems possible 
with YBC 11549, although one astronomer named Bel-aplu-iddin appears 
in this text, but as son of Bel-bullissu (line 7). This latter individual might 
be mentioned in the colophon of the astronomical diary for the year -361 (= 
Artaxerxes II year 43), written by Uballissu-Bel, son of Bel-aplu-[o o o]. 26 
The latter name could be restored as Bel-aplu-[iddin] and identified with 
our Bel-aplu-iddin, son of Bel-bullissu, appearing in YBC 11549, line 7. 
If this eventually proves to be the case, then YBC 11549 should probably 
be dated to the 6th year of Artaxerxes III. One text from the 2nd century 
has a colophon by the tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil r x n [x] r x n -iddin, son of Bel- 
bullissu, but YBC 1 1 549 is too firmly anchored in the 4th century to make any 
identification with the Bel-aplu-iddin/Bel-bullissu of YBC 1 1549 possible. It 
shows at least that patterns of name-giving in that milieu were quite persistent 
throughout the Hellenistic period. 27 

The absence of firm correlations with contemporary astronomical texts 
is certainly disappointing, but it by no means reduces the value of the 
information yielded by YBC 1 1549. The text fills an important gap in our 

25 J. P. Britton and C. B. F. Walker, "A 4th Century Babylonian Model for Venus: B.M. 33552," 
Centaurus 34 (1991) 97-1 18. 

26 Sachs and Hunger, Astronomical Diaries 138 rev. 3'. [o o o] SU.MIN iTIN-raJEN DUMU 
sd Id EN-A-[o o o]. The colophons of diaries are discussed by A. Slotsky, The Bourse of Babylon. 
Market Quotations in the Astronomical Diaries of Babylonia (Bethesda, Md. : CDL Press, 1997) 

27 See H. Hunger, Babylonische unci assyrische Kolophone (AOAT 2; Kevelaer and Neukir- 
chen-Vluyn: Verlag Butzon & Bercker, 1968) no. 181 (= ACT p. 21, Zld). 


Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

documentation on the activities of astronomers in first millennium Babylonia. 
First it shows that the scientific establishment maintained by the Esagil temple 
and documented by late 2nd century texts was already in place in the 4th 
century. The number of astronomers working for the temple at that time, 
fourteen, provides evidence for substantial official sponsorship of science in 
4th century Babylonia, which is precisely the time when the most advanced 
mathematical astronomy was being invented. 28 YBC 11549 also suggests 
that the office of astronomer was a prebendal one, as was the case later in 
the 2nd century. The distribution of allowances (kurummatu) in these later 
texts is computed in silver probably because of the increased use of coinage 
under the Seleucids, while in YBC 1 1 549 the old system of distributions 
in naturalia still prevails. 29 The publication of more texts from 4th century 
Babylon in the future will hopefully allow us to determine the context and 
date of YBC 1 1 549 with even greater precision. The very fact that most, if 
not indeed all the astronomers mentioned in this text are otherwise unknown 
opens up exciting vistas on the complexity of scientific research in ancient 
Babylonia on the eve of Alexander's conquest of the Persian empire. 

28 The chronology of astronomical discoveries is laid out by J. P. Britton, "Scientific Astronomy 
in Pre-Seleucid Babylon," in Die Rolle der Astronomie in den Kulturen Mesopotamiens (ed. 
Hannes D. Gaiter; Grazer Morgenlandische Studien 3; Graz: GrazKult, 1993) 61-76; and by 
J. Britton and C. Walker, "Astronomy and Astrology in Mesopotamia," in Astronomy Before the 
Telescope (ed. C. Walker; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996) 42-67, who point out that the 
most active period was between ca. 450 and 330, that is, between the invention of the zodiac 
and the latest possible date for the completion of "System A." 

29 See, however, the several notes of caution on the use for that period of such terms as money 
and coinage by P. Vargyas, "Silver and Money in Achaemenid and Hellenistic Babylonia," in 
Studies Oelsner 5 1 3—2 1 . 


The Astronomers of the Esagil Temple 

Fig. 1. YBC 11549 obv. 


Paul-Alain Beaulieu 

Fig. 2. YBC 11549 rev. 





J. A. Brinkman 

The use of occupation names or titles, e.g., Paharu ("Potter") or Sangu 
Sippar ("chief temple administrator of Sippar") 2 to designate ancestral 
or "family" names in first-millennium Babylonia is a well-attested, if still 
inadequately understood phenomenon. 3 In this article, I would like to 

1 Abbreviations not adapted from CAD R pp. ix-xxx or cited in the abbreviation list for this 
volume include: 

A. C.VM. Bongenaar, The Neo-Babylonian Ebabbar Tem- 
ple at Sippar: Its Administration and Its Prosopography (PI- 
HANS 80; Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch 
Instituut te Istanbul, 1997) 

Albert T. Clay, Personal Names from Cuneiform Inscriptions 
of the Cassite Period (YOR 1; New Haven: Yale University 
Press, 1912) 

K. Kessler, "Drei Keilschrifttexte aus Tell Baradan," in Stud- 
ies Boehmer 281—8 

O. R. Gurney, The Middle Babylonian Legal and Economic 
Texts from Ur ([London]: British School of Archaeology in 
Iraq, 1983). 

Herbert P. H. Petschow, Mittelbabylonische Rechts- und Wirt- 
schaftsurkunden der Hilprecht-Sammlung Jena (Berlin: Aka- 
demie-Verlag, 1974) 

Mittelbabylonische Urkunden aus Nippur = BaF 21 pp. 183— 
456 (texts cited by no.) 

M. Holscher, Die Personennamen der kassitenzeitlichen Tex- 
te aus Nippur (IMGULA 1; Minister: Rhema, 1996) 
K. Radner and H.D. Baker, eds. The Prosopography of the 
Neo-Assyrian Empire (Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus 
Project, University of Helsinki, 1998-). (5 fascicles pub- 
lished to date) 

J.N. Strassmaier, "Einige kleinere babylonische Keilschrift- 
texte aus dem British Museum," Actes du Huitieme Congres 
International des Orientalistes, 2'= mc partie, Section LB (Lei- 
den: Brill, 1893) 

1 would like to thank Steven Cole and Daniel Nevez, who took time to read an advanced draft 
of this paper and offer helpful comments. 

2 The sangu is an upper-level administrator, usually connected with a temple (or temples). See 
also note 5 1 below. 

3 In this article the term "family" will be used to designate an extensive (putative) kin group 
who trace their descent back to a common ancestor (usually at least several generations 
removed). When the nuclear family is meant, it will be explicitly qualified as such. In 
most cases, I will dispense with the quotation marks around "family" except when citing 
the opinions of others; this should not be taken as an unquestioning acceptance of the 

Bongenaar, Sippar 


Kessler, Studies Boehmer 






Strassmaier, Huitieme Congres 


J. A. Brinkman 

discuss a possible precursor of this practice in the Middle Babylonian 
period. 4 

This Middle Babylonian usage is not a new discovery Various authors 
have noted isolated examples of occupation names serving as "family" 
names in the Kassite period, e.g., Bernhardt, 5 Petschow, 6 Holscher, 7 and 
a few articles in the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary 8 and the Akkadisches 
Handworterbuch. 9 Stamm and Lambert have also commented that this type 
of patronym or ancestral name was in use in the Kassite period. 10 1 would like 
to point out that the occurrence of occupation names as Middle Babylonian 
patronyms, or potential ancestral names, seems to be much more widely 
attested than has been explicitly recognized — or at least substantiated — in 
the literature. 

In the following pages I will first cite examples of occupation names 
used as patronyms (Section A) and then examples of occupation names used 
as personal names for principals, i.e., individuals who are prime referents 
directly involved in the action or status described in the text (Section B). 
There may occasionally be an overlap between these categories because 
some principals are referred to only by patronym, i.e., in the form mar PN 
("Son of PN") or marat PN ("Daughter of PN"), in a style comparable to 
Arabic usage such as Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Saud or Bint al- 
Kamal. I am separating the two categories here simply on the basis of formal 
structure: personal names following DUMU or DUMU.SAL (the logographic 
writings in context for mar and marat, respectively) will be classified as 

more literal meaning of the term to imply blood relationship (or adoption). By "ancestral" 
and "ancestor," I am referring simply to the designated head of such a family grouping, 
whether the head's identity is expressed as a personal name or as an occupation name or 

4 By "Middle Babylonian" in the present context I mean the period between the close 
of the Hammurabi dynasty (1595 according to the Middle Chronology) and the end of 
the Kassite dynasty (1155 BC). In practice, the arbitrary dividing line between Old and 
Middle Babylonian is of little consequence here, since there is at present no relevant material 
antedating the fifteenth century. It should be noted that AHw sets the end of its Middle 
Babylonian phase somewhat later, c. 1000 BC; but there are relatively few private documents 
and kudurrus written in Akkadian (fewer than fifty) presently known from these 1 55 additional 

5 TuM NF 5 p. 22 (s.v. paharu), p. 24 (s.v. LU.TUG.MAS). 

6 Petschow, MRWH p. 46 (sahitu). 

1 Holscher, PKN 195 (sahitu), where she also states that "Familiennamen im Sinne unseres 
Nachnamens, wie sie im 1 . Jtsd. ublich werden, sind in den mB Texten aus Nippur jedoch nicht 
nachweisbar." This is true in the sense that these texts either do not cite genealogies at all or 
cite genealogies going back only one generation (most names appear as PN alone, DUMU PN 
alone, or PNi DUMU PN 2 ). 

8 E.g., CAD P 22b (s.v. paharu), S/3 212a (s.v. Suiginakku). 

9 E.g., AHw 810a (s.v. paharu). 

10 Stamm, Namengebung 270 (with citation of a few examples); W. G. Lambert, "Ancestors, 
Authors, and Canonicity ," JCS 1 1 (1957) 3. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

patronyms; 11 personal names that do not follow DUMU or DUMU.SAL will 
be classified as principals. After listing examples — a far-from-exhaustive 
sample 12 — I will briefly discuss their significance and their possible rela- 
tionship to the first-millennium use of occupation names as ancestral names 
(Section C). 

I would like to stress the provisional character of this essay. In fields where 
textual material is abundant but even basic reference tools are either lacking 
or inadequate, 13 it can be helpful at times to present a preliminary survey of 
material, formulate working hypotheses, point out lacunae in the research or 
data, and pose questions that cannot readily be answered. My remarks here 
must be regarded as essentially propaedeutic, perusing an area of interest and 
making a few sketchy observations based on patchy data. This treatment may 
at least alert readers to a subject worth closer and more systematic scrutiny. 

A. Occupation Names Used as Patronyms 

Occupation names used as patronyms can be written logographically or 
syllabically, 14 with considerable variation in determinatives: (a) with both 
the masculine personal determinative and the LU determinative, (b) with the 
masculine personal determinative alone, (c) with LU alone, or (d) with neither 
determinative. 15 In the case of the sole female name in the list (qadistu, 
qadiltu), the name is preceded by either the feminine or the masculine 
personal determinative. 16 Where it is clear from context that the patronym- 
style name (mar PN or marat PN) stands alone by itself for the individual, i.e., 

11 Regardless of whether another personal name precedes DUMU or DUMU.SAL. 

12 Even from the currently known texts. This list will inevitably be expanded with further 
research and the addition of new texts. 

13 The lack of comprehensive prosopographical treatments in both Middle Babylonian and 
Neo-Babylonian is unfortunate, given the scope of the present inquiry. Holscher's PKN is 
extraordinarily useful for the MB Nippur archives in so far as they were published at the time 
of her work (1996); but in the meantime approximately 35% more material has appeared in 
MUN. Clay's CPN helps for the non-Nippur material, but does not cover texts from Dur- 
Kurigalzu, Ur, the Diyala, or other places that have been published since his work appeared 
(1912). On the Neo-Babylonian side, Tallqvist's./VBJV(1905) is even older than Clay and sorely 
in need of a replacement. 

14 With logographic spellings currently predominating among the examples listed here as 

15 Sassmannshausen in his review of PKN objects to occupation names written without pre- 
ceding personal determinatives in phrases such as DUMU.SAL LU.ENGAR and DUMU.SAL 
pa-ha-ri being interpreted as personal names (BiOr 55 [1998] 828). As will be seen from the 
following examples, this type of writing is not uncommon for occupation-name patronyms. 

16 For another example of a masculine/feminine alternation, at Ur, see note 60 below. Another 
possible example of a female name (harimdu), though attested to date only with the masculine 
personal determinative, is discussed at the end of this section. Note also maru amat ekalli in 
note 1 1 1 below. 


J. A. Brinkman 

where the DUMU or DUMU.SAL is not immediately preceded by a personal 
name, 1 7 1 have marked the reference as beginning with 0. For emphasis, I have 
also marked with those instances in which the patronymic occupation name 
is preceded by neither the masculine personal determinative nor LU. Where 
texts are known to have originated from or to have been excavated at sites 
other than Nippur, I have noted the place of origin in parentheses following 
the reference. Not all the examples below are of equal value and some are 
not beyond question, either in reading or interpretation; 18 I have indicated 
areas of doubt where these seem to me to be significant. I have excluded 
mar sarri (DUMU LUGAL) and marat sarri (DUMU.SAL LUGAL) from 
the following discussion, since these pose other problems, e.g., whether they 
necessarily refer to a child of the reigning monarch; 19 there seems at present 
to be no indication that these designations ever evolved into what could 
be considered a family name in the same sense as the other names treated 
here. Line references in this section are to the line in which the patronym 

A.l aluzinnu. "Clown." (a) ha-ki-rum DUMU x a-lu-zi-ni CBS 8089:3. (b) 

DUMU l a-lu-zi-in- T nP Ni. 6908 :2. 20 [also used as the name of a principal; 

see B. 1 below] 
A.2 apil babi. "Doorkeeper." (a) [. . .] DUMU a-p//- r KA n BE 14 1 19: 13. 21 
A.3 askapu. "Leatherworker." (a) l ki-din- d ul-mas DUMU 'LU.ASGAB 

UM 29-16-135:3. 
A.4 atkuppu. "Craftsman working with reeds." (a) l ta-ri-bu DUMU 

LU.ADKID BE 14 138: 13. 22 

17 For a recent discussion on the meaning of such name-forms, see Holscher, PKN 7. This 
topic needs further investigation. 

18 It seems better at this preliminary stage to include a wider range of examples that technically 
seem to fit into the stylistically defined category. Later re-examination — and the addition of 
more data — may either support or question the appropriateness of the classification in individual 

19 These have never been investigated in detail for the Kassite period; but note the remarks of 
Sassmannshausen, BaF 21 13 — 4. In the Late Bronze Age, especially outside the jurisdiction of 
Babylonia and Assyria proper, there seems to be a broader meaning to these terms and quite 
possibly an extension beyond the biological kin of the king or royal family (for Ugarit, see, 
e.g., M. Heltzer, The Internal Organization of the Kingdom of Ugarit [Wiesbaden: Reichert, 
1982] 168-9; forNuzi, W. Mayer, Nuzi-Studien I [AOAT 205/1; Kevelaer/Neukirchen-Vluyn: 
Verlag Butzon & Bercker/Neukirchener Verlag, 1978] 116-20; for Hana, see the remarks of 
A.H. Podany, The Land of Hana [Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 2002] 121). Note that mar sarri 
in at least some later contexts (Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian) has the restricted sense of 
"crown prince, heir to the throne." The problems involved are also discussed briefly in CAD 
S/2 111b-112a. 

20 The name entry in the next line reads: 'KIMIN. 

21 Holscher, PKN 33 reads this name as apil abulli (i.e., KA.GA[L?]); but that seems unlikely. 
The title apil babi is amply attested in Middle Babylonian (AHw 58a, CAD A/2 170a); I am 
unaware of any occurrences of apil abulli. 

22 The next two personal-name entries in this text are followed by SES-sw, probably indicating 
that they share the same patronymic. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

A.5 atu. "Doorkeeper." (a) DUMU 'I.DUg UM 29-15-795:11. 

A.6 ba'iru, ba'eru. "Fisherman, hunter." (a) DUMU l ba-e-ri BM 81092:2. 

[also used as the name of a principal; see B.2 below] 
A.7 banu. "Builder." (a) Hb-ni- A \M DUMU l ba-ni-i CBS 7230 ii 1 6 (= MUN 

1 12). 23 [also used as the name of a principal; see B.3 below] 24 
A.8 baqilu. "Maltster." (a) ^ra-ba-te-e-a DUMU 'LU.MUNU, A. 30166:14 (= 

3NT 143). 25 
A.9 baru. "Diviner." (a) "IM-MU-SES DUMU LU.HAL Kessler, Studies 

Boehmer 285-6 no. 3:9' (Baradan). (b) "IM-MU-SI.SA DUMU LU.HAL 

BaF 7 pi. 160 no. 715 rev. 21' (Zubeidi). (c) r ^bu-nu-u-a DUMU LU.HAL 

N 1035 rev. 9' (= MUN 13). (d) v e t -ti-ru-tum DUMU LU.HAL BaF 7 pi. 

159 no. 715:17 (Zubeidi). (e) ^mar-tu-ku DUMU LU.HAL BaF 7 pi. 162 no. 

721:5 (Zubeidi). (f) ^mu-se-zi-bu DUMU 'LU.HAL Sumer 9 (1953) after 

p. 34 no. 1:16 (Dur-Kurigalzu). (g) DUMU l ba-ri-i N 1042:4. 26 
A.10 dayyanu. "Judge." (a) DUMU We-e-a-a-ni CBS 10908:6'. 27 
A.ll gallabu. "Barber." (a) l ZALAG- A dil-bat SES.A.NI DUMU 'SUI WZJ 8 

(1958-59) pi. XV HS 1 15:20. 28 (b) DUMU 'SUI CBS 10971 rev. 12. 29 
A.12 gazizu. "Shearer." (a) ld IM-tas-mar DUMU v gd*-zi-zi BaM 1 3 (1 982) 76-9 

no. 9 rev. 3. 
A.13 huppii. "(a type of weaver)." (a) I en'-6a- d AMARUTU DUMU x hu-up-pi-i 

BE 17 58:6'. (b) l u-ba-a-a DUMU l hu-up-pi-i PBS 2/2 106:20. (c) l a-si-gi 

r DUMU n l hu-up-pi-i CBS 4565 rev. 7. 30 
A.14 ikkaru. "Plowman." (a) 'KA- d IM 31 DUMU Hk-ka-ri BE 15 43:2. (b) 

DUMU LU.ENGAR TuM NF 5 17:4. (c) rfn ARHUS-«- d gw-/a DUMU.SAL 

Hk-ka-ri BE 15 200 ii 1 1. (d) DUMU.SAL ik-ka-[r]i BE 15 188 rev. i' 

23 In cases where I have read or collated Philadelphia tablets not published in the standard BE 
and PBS series, the museum number will be cited as primary, with a MUN number added if 
the text has been published in BaF 2 1 . Where my information comes from MUN alone, the 
museum number will not be given. 

24 It is also possible to interpret this name as banu, "well-proportioned, beautiful." 

25 Baqilu is not a common personal name, but occurs earlier in Hana texts as Q)ba-qi-lum (see 
Podany, The Land of Hana nos. 1:19, 2:19, 9:28). For the correct reading of the PN in these 
texts, note already CPN 63 as well as AHw 105a, CAD B 100a. 

26 Additional, damaged references may be found in BaF 7 pi. 160 no. 715 rev. 5' and pi. 161 
no. 719:5, 7, 11, 13 (all Zubeidi). 

27 For the Middle Babylonian shift from medial -ay(y)a- to -iy(y)a-, see Gelb, BiOr 12 (1955) 
102. The name Da"anu is attested also in Middle Assyrian (Claudio Saporetti, Onomastica 
medio-assira [Studia Pohl 6; 2 vols.; Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1970] 1 191). It is possible 
that Dayyanu/Diyyanu is an abbreviation of a longer name such as Dayyan-DN, DayyanT-DN, 
or Dayyan-ili. 

28 The brother mentioned may be Kandu, whose "house" (E) is mentioned in the preceding 

29 The name gallabu also occurs as a patronym in Middle Assyrian (KAJ 205:14; AfO 10 
[1935-36] no. 61:7). 

30 The line-numbering on the reverse of this text is problematic, since many small notes were 
later added between the lines; I have generally labelled these note insertions as lines 3a, 4a, 
etc. to distinguish them from the main entries. 

31 Rigim-Adad. 


J. A. Brinkman 

1 1'. 32 (e) DUMU.SAL LU.ENGAR CBS 8558:7'. [also used as the name 

of a principal; see B.6 below] 33 
A.15 isparu. "Weaver." (a) l EN-u-sd-x DUMU LUUS ! .BAR BaM 13 (1982) 

57-9 no. 1:5 (Imlihiye). (b) ^en-ta-an-td'-ni DUMU LU.US.BAR BaM 13 

(1982) 88-90 no. 18:2 (Imlihiye). [also used as the name of a principal; see 

B.7 below] 
A.16 issakku. "(a type of farmer)." (a) DUMU UIT.ENSI CBS 7714:23. [also 

used as the name of a principal; see B.8 below] 
A.17 itinnu. "Builder." (a) IGI i30-7e n -/ TJUMU W -t[i]-nu UET 7 3 1 rev. 10 

(Ur); reading not beyond question. 
A.18 kalu. "Lamentation priest." (a) IGI hi-mif -turn DUMU 'LU.GALA Ni. 

A.19 kassidakku. "Miller." (a) I DU-a-.M- d U.GUR DUMU I LU.KA. r ZID 1 .DA 

PBS 2/2 116:4. 
A.20 kurgarru. "Cultic performer." (a) l be-W-nu DUMU 'KUR.GAR.RA 

BE 14 1 18:21. (b) DUMU ■LU.KUR.GAR.RA LU.BAHAR BE 14 

1 18:22. [also used as the name of a principal; see B.10 below] 
A.21 kutimmu. "Metalsmith (working in precious metals)." (a) [ l Ysi-P-kab- 

ta-at DUMU 'LU.KU.DIM IR.E.GAL Iraq 1 1 (1949) 147 no. 8 rev. 22 

(DQr-Kurigalzu). (b) DUMU ■LU.KU.DIM BE 15 90:28. (c) DUMU 

•KU.DIIM] PBS 2/2 73:13. [also used as the name of a principal; see B.l 1 

A.22 makisu. "Tax collector." (a) l mu-tak-ki-lum DUMU LU ma-ki-si sa URU 

Za-ad-diBaM 13 (1982) 60-2 no. 2 rev. 4-5 (Imlihiye). 34 
A.23 malahu. "Boatman." (a) [ l ]i-qi-su DUMU LU.MA. r LAH 4 n Ni. 1 1 605 

rev. 9. (b) DUMU ma-la-hi CBS 8682:2 (= MUN 215). (c) fRTMIN 

DUMU.SAL MA.LAH 4 Ni. 943:10. (d) DUMU.SAL IMA.LAH4 

BE 15 163:13. (e) r DUMUSAL n MA. r LAH 4 n CBS 8873:16. (f) 

32 The DUMU.SAL (without MES) is preceded by "6," which Holscher (PKN 91) has 
interpreted to mean six daughters not mentioned by name. In fact, the "6," which is preceded 
by the PAP sign, totals the personnel entries (male and female) mentioned by name in the 
six preceding lines; and marat ikkari refers to the person concerned with or supervising the 

33 In the first millennium, it seems clear that mar ikkari and maru ikkari/ikkarati designate 
a class of agricultural worker rather than a family group: see CAD I/J 54 sub ikkaru in mar 
ikkari and M. Stolper, Entrepreneurs and Empire (PIHANS 54; Leiden: Nederlands Historisch- 
Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul, 1985) 77 no. 46 (LU susanu DUMUMES LU.ENGAR. 
MES). Note also the remarks by M. Jursa, Die Landwirtschaft in Sippar in neubabylonischer 
Zeit (AfO Beih. 25; Vienna: Institut fur Orientalistik der Universitat Wien, 1995) 7-8 (with 
further literature). For Bit Ikkari as an economic and administrative unit in early eighth-century 
Babylonia, see Studies Sjoberg 42-1 . The name occurs as ikkaru in Middle Assyrian (Saporetti, 
Onomastica 1 241; Freydank and Saporetti, Nuove attestazioni dell' onomastica medio-assira 
[Incunabla Graeca 74; Rome: Edizioni deH'Ateneo & Bizzarri, 1979] 61). 

34 If the sa GN is part of the title, i.e., "tax collector of the town Zaddu," then this patronym 
seems more specific than most other examples cited here and could point to an individual rather 
than to a inchoate ancestral name. But one may also compare the specified sangu names/titles 
below (A.42^14); some of these, despite their specificity, occur as ancestral names in the 
Neo-Babylonian period (e.g., Sangu Akkad: Bongenaar, Sippar 541 and CAD S/l 381b; Sangu 
Sippar: Bongenaar, Sippar 447-63). 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

DUMU.SAL ma-la-hi Ni. 2222:2. (g) DUMU.SAL a ma-la-hi Ni. 
6074:2. (h) DUMU.SAL a ma-la-hi UM 29-15-967:2 (= MUN 216). 

A.24 mandidu, madidu. "Measurer." (a) DUMU.SAL ma-an-di-di 

BE 15 155:7. (b) DUMU.SAL LU.I.AG Iraq 11 (1949) 145 no. 5:4 

A.25 nagdru. "Carpenter." (a) ^E-a-na-ZALAG-M DUMU LU.NAGAR BaF 
7 pi. 159 no. 715:9 (Zubeidi). (b) l na-zi-iz-ru-uq^ DUMU LU.NAGAR 
Ni. 185:3. (c) [H-/ta-]-qi-su DUMU LU.NAGAR Ni. 1065:13' (d) 
DUMU.SAL LU.NAGAR BaF 7 pi. 159 no. 715:3 (Zubeidi). 36 (e) 
DUMU.SAL LU.NAGAR CBS 8873:4. 37 [also used as the name of a 
principal; see B.13 below] 

A.26 nappahu. "Smith." (a) [ ]-x-x-tum DUMU.SAL LU.SIMUG sa LUGAL Ni. 
7013: 13'. 38 [also used as the name of a principal; see B.15 below] 

A.27 nuhatimmu. "Cook, baker." (a) DUMU.SAL LU.MU BE 15 155:31. (b) 
DUMU iLU.MU UM 29-15-795:9. 

A.28 nukarribu. "Gardener." (a) ^mu-x-x-su DUMU 'NUGIS.SAR BaF 7 pi. 
162 no. 722:10' (Zubeidi). [also used as the name of a principal; see B.17 

A.29 paham. "Potter." (a) ^U-dAMARUTU DUMU LU.BAHAR Peiser, 
Urkunden no. 1 1 1 :2 (Peiser archive), (b) 'SU^AMARUTU DUMU 
LU/BAHAR" 1 Peiser, Urkunden no. 116:4 (Peiser archive), (c) Hn-nu-un-nu 
DUMU ipa-ha-ri UM 29-15-273 obv.? i' 10'. (d) ^PN" 1 DUMU.SAL 
pa-ha-ri CBS 3667:6. (e) f hu-zu-tum DUMU.SAL pa-ha-ri TuM NF 5 
34:36'. [also used as the name of a principal; see B.18 below] 

A.30 paqqayu. "Maker of reed mats." (a) 1 I-qi- r sa'-< i IM DUMU l pa-qd-a-a-i 
BE 15 175:47. (b) DUMU.SAL ®pa-qa-a-i BE 15 155:34'. 3< > (c) 
DUMU l pa-qd-a-a-i BE 15 174:8. 

A.31 qadistu/qadiltu. 40 "(a type of priestess)." (a) 'MU-ffi-si DUMU f qd-di- r iF- 
ti PBS 2/2 122:22.41 (b) i[x]-x-tum DUMU rp qa-dis-t[i] UM 29-1 5-765 :5 42 
(= MUN 373). (c) DUMU l qa-dis-t[i>] MUN 348:5. 43 

A.32 redu. "(a type of administrator)." (a) 'SES-SIGs DUMU l re-di- 
i NBC 7961:24. (b) ^bu-ni-x-ni DUMU Ve-^-ZNBC 7991:2. (c) 

35 The reading of the second element of the name is uncertain. 

36 Followed by the woman's designation as DAM LU.x(.x). r KI\ 

37 Note that a Larsa kudurru dealing with agricultural real estate describes a neighboring parcel 
of land (and its owner) as sd DUMU LU.NAGAR RA 66 (1972) 170:14. 

38 The additional specification of™ sarri raises the probability that the text may be dealing 
with an individual designated by title rather than with a more generic patronym. 

39 Compare [. . .y^pa-qd-a-a-i in broken context inNi. 2880 rev? 4'. It has not been determined 
whether this is the name of a principal or a patronym. 

40 CAD Q 50a also calls attention to a comparable use in Ugarit: PN DUMU qa-dis-ti as the 
syllabically written equivalent of the Ugaritic name bn.qdst. 

41 The principal here is a naqidu (NA.GAD), to judge from the text heading. 

42 Lines 4-5 here are a single entry, as can be seen from the quantities listed and the total. 

43 This reference, despite the masculine personal determinative, may perhaps also refer to a 
matronym; compare the varying determinatives for a patronym/matronym at Ur (references in 
note 60 below). Qadiltu also occurs in Middle Assyrian as a feminine proper name (Saporetti, 
Onomastica 1 373). 


J. A. Brinkman 

"AMAR.UTU-SUM-SES.MES DUMU l re-di-i PBS 1/2 22:19. (d) 
ld FA.KU-re-su-u-a DUMU he-di-i BE 14 86:5 and case, line 6. 44 [for 
possible usage as the name of a principal, see B.19 below] 

A.33 rgi alpi. "Oxherd." (a) 'EN-SES.MES-.sw DUMU SIPA.GU 4 .HI.A TBER 
pi. 13A0 8133:13'. 45 

A.34 re'i sise. "Horse herder." (a) DUMUSAL 'SIPA.ANSE.KUR.RA 
UM 29-13-197:3. 

A.35 re'u. "Shepherd." (a) [0 DUMJUSAL 'LU.SIPA UM 29-13-197:4. 4( > 

A.36 samidu. "Miller." (a) IGI l ap-lu-ti DUMU ha-mi-di IM 49974: 1 8a; the text 
is published in Iraq 1 1 (1949) 143, but this line has been omitted in the 
copy (it should be inserted between the lines numbered there as 18 and 19). 
[also used as the name of a principal; see B.20 below] 47 

A.37 sasinnu. "Bowmaker." (a) IRIMIN DUMU ha-si-in-ni CBS 4578: 13'. 48 (b) 
DUMUSAL 'LU.ZADIM Ni. 1658: 1 1 . 

A.38 sirasu. "Brewer." (a) %i-di-ni-tum DUMUSAL SIM CBS 3667: 1 . (b) 
Ma-rib-tum DUMU 'LU.SIMxGAR PBS 2/2 73:39. 

A.39 sukkallu. "(a court official)." (a) DUMU LU.SUKKAL Ni. 834:11. 

A.40 sahitu. "Oil-presser." (a) u \M-re-sa-su DUMU LU.LSUR BE 14 8:3. (b) 
Wu-re-sa-su DUMU 'I.SUR TuM NF 5 68:20'. (c) DUMU 'LU.I.SUR 
ENSI MUN 298:3. (d) DUMU ha-hi-ti CBS 10484 rev. 9'. 

A.41 sangu. "Chief temple administrator." (a) l SES-du-twn DUMU E.BAR 

NBC 7961:26. (b) Hl-lu-ul-lum DUMU E.BAR CBS 351 1:9. (c) "NIN.IB- 
SES DUMU 'E.BAR MUN 40:5. (d) DUMU E.BAR Kessler, Studies 
Boehmer 284-5 no. 2:7 (Baradan). (e) ... DUMU LU.E.BAR Peiser, 
Urkunden no. 1 14:7, immediately preceding context undetermined, perhaps 
a PN ending in [ ]-x-tum (Peiser archive). 49 

A.42 sangu DN. "Chief temple administrator for DN." (a) l mu-ra-nu r DUMU l 
LU.E.BAR D[N]so Ni. 6551:7. 

A.43 sangu Sippav. "Chief temple administrator of Sippar." (a) DUMU 
0r ra n -aw-ge-eUD.KIB.NUN. r Kr BE 15 168:17. 

A.44 sangu sa akkadi. "Chief temple administrator of Akkad." (a) [DU]MU 
'LU.E.BAR sa ak-ka-di [ ( )] MUN 338:6-7. 

44 Evidence for the function of the redii in the Kassite period is sparse. The primary pertinent 
text and difficulties with its interpretation are discussed in Section B.19 below. 

45 Cf. [. . .] DUMU ISUD-TU-™ DUMU 'SIPA-x [. . .] UET 7 1 :2. 

46 The restorations are reasonably certain because of the spacing in this account, includ- 
ing the alignment of the two preceding entries: DUMU l i-li-eri-ba and DUMUSAL 

47 The name Samidu also occurs in Middle Assyrian (Saporetti, Onomastica 1 388-9; Freydank 
and Saporetti, Nuove attestazioni dell' onomastica medio-assira 105; see also WVDOG 92 9:7, 

48 The entry on the preceding line is li ?A.¥3J-ta-qis-Tl-it. 'KIMIN and DUMU l sa-si-in-ni in 
line 13' could be separate entries. 

49 The number of Middle Babylonian patronyms composed of sangu plus either a divine name 
or a geographical name is worthy of note. For the first millennium, I have counted no fewer than 
twenty-seven different examples in patronymic (second tier of two-tier genealogy) or ancestral 
(third tier of three-tier genealogy) use. 

so Perhaps d K[A.DI] = Is[taran]. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

A.45 saqu. "Cupbearer." (a) i mWIB-mu-sal-lim DUMU I SILA.SU.DU 8 BE 15 

A.46 satammu. "Chief steward (of a temple)." 51 (a) DUMU! °sa-tam-mu 

Kessler, Studies Boehmer 284-5 no. 2:3 (Baradan). 52 
A.47 suiginakku. "Barber." (a) [ ] DUMU 'LU su-i-gi-na-ki PBS 2/2 1 16:8. 53 
A.48 tamkaru. "Merchant." (a) l eri-ba-^JTU DUMU i r DAM.GAR n CBS 8501 : 1 

= BaM 28 (1997) 204 no. 7, collated, (b) lr 7z-fa/r , - d UTU DUMU 

'DAM.GARNi. 1065:19'. (c) I fa'-<ft«- d AMAR.U[TU] DUMU : DAM.GAR 

CBS 8501:15. (d) "iNIN.IB-a-p/7-A-iaDUMULU.DAM.GARUM29-15- 

A.49 tabihu (tabbihu?). "Butcher." (a) r DUMU n Hab-bi-hi UM 29-13-298:6. 54 
A.50 tupsarru. "Scribe." (a) l e-ri-bu DUMU iDUB.SAR Ni. 128:5. (b) hi-sat-i- 

na-se-re-ti DUMUSAL 'DUB.SAR BE 15 200 ii 36. (c) { ri-sat-i-na-se-re-ti 

r DUMUSAL 'DUB.SAR 1 CBS 8848 iii' 4. (d) DUMU iDUB.SAR Ni. 

381:2, 11.55 
A.51 LU.TUG.BAR.56 "(meaning unknown)." (a) IGI l hu-nu-bi-ia DUMU 

LU. r TUG n (copy: SU).BAR TuM NF 5 74:21. Reading and interpretation 

uncertain. 57 

Other less likely candidates for inclusion are as follows. Abdu, "slave," 
usually viewed as a word of West Semitic origin, occurs several times as 
a patronym in Middle Babylonian texts; 58 but, unlike most of the words 

51 satammu and sangu are defined by CAD, at least for the first millennium, as "chief 
administrator of a temple" (S/l 377a) and "chief temple administrator" (S/2 1 85b) respectively, 
supposedly with complementary distribution for the temples served. For the late second 
millennium, the functions of these two officials have been summarized by Sassmannshausen, 
BaF 2 1 64-6, 67. In BM 38 124, a royal rikiltu document, the king Meli-Sipak issues instructions 
for Nabu-zakir-sumi (written Id AG-MU-MU), the Sangu (E.BAR), and Nabu-mukln-apli, the 
satammu of Ezida, for the management of the temple. The sangu is mentioned before the 
satammu and presumably outranks him (part of the text is cited in CAD S/2 190-91). The 
distinction between the two officials is worthy of further investigation, especially whether the 
satammu might have been more often concerned with finances and personnel and not directly 
with the performance of cult ritual. 

52 Or perhaps SA.TAM-mw. The value sa is also on occasion used in Middle Babylonian to 
write the first syllable in the royal name Sagarakti-Surias (MSKH 1 309). 

53 Or'LU.SU.I.GI.NA-fa'. 

54 The existence of a supposed Middle Babylonian variant tabbihu for the tabihu in other 
dialects (sic AHw 1 376a; Sassmannshausen, BaF 2 1 83) has not been sufficiently demonstrated. 
The writing of the first syllable with a CVC sign in administrative texts is not a good indication 
that the second consonant must be doubled. Tabihu may also appear as a personal name in 
Middle Assyrian (Saporetti, Onomastica 1 484). 

55 The name also occurs in line 14 of this text, but the immediately preceding context is 
damaged and not yet read. 

56 Or LU.TUG.MAS. The signs do not seem to support a reading as either aslaku oxpusayu. 

57 Sassmannshausen raises the possibility of interpreting this as subarru, but notes that that 
would be an unparalleled writing (BiOr 55 [1998] 830). 

58 PBS 2/2 13:6, 35; PBS 2/2 59:11; UM 29-13-384:10 (= MUN 355); Ni. 6733:18; UM 29- 
16-493:2. Collation shows that the supposed occurrence inMCW 1 12 ii 1 is inaccurate; the last 
two signs visible in the line are clearly -an-di (despite the copy). 


J. A. Brinkman 

considered in this section, when in non-patronymic use abdu does not 
seem to have served as an occupational title; rather it functioned primarily 
as a common noun indicating subordinate status, usually in literary texts 
or in personal names. 59 There is also the anomalous harimdu (harimtu, 
harindu), "prostitute," which occurs in patronymic context preceded by 
a masculine personal determinative: Id IM-EN-faz-/a DUMU i ha-ri-im-di 
PBS 8/2 158:6. 60 

B. Occupation Names Used as the Personal Names of Principals 

Outside the contexts DUMU PN and DUMU. SAL PN treated above in 
Section A, occupation names or titles are also used to form personal names 
for principals in Kassite period texts. Since the sign formed by a single 
vertical wedge can stand for both the masculine personal determinative and 
the numeral "one," it is often impossible to distinguish from the writing 
alone whether "Mr. Carpenter" or "one carpenter" is meant; context will 
be the guide in determining meaning. In texts consisting for the most part 
of personal names, the presumption will be that "Mr. Carpenter" is to be 
preferred; in texts where persons are categorized primarily by occupation 
or title, it is likely that "one carpenter" is intended. There will inevitably 
be uncertainty in mixed contexts in which neither of the above types of 
reference predominates, and that will be noted here. In the examples I have 
seen to date, there seems to be at least a slight preference for syllabic rather 
than logographic writing of occupation names used as personal names for 
principals; 61 but this could be coincidence distorted by the present paucity 
of data. 62 Logographic writings, with the exception of 'KUR.GAR.RA, are 
preceded by LU as well as the masculine personal determinative. 

B.l aluzinnu. "Clown." (a) l a- r lu'-zi-in-nu BE 15 123:8. [also used as a 
patronym; see A. 1 above] 

59 It could also be an abbreviation of a longer name such as Abdu-DN. 

60 One should not simply dismiss this occurrence out of hand, since there are other instances 
in this period where matronyms appear to be written with masculine personal determinatives; 
see Section A.3 1 above and note the alternation between the masculine and feminine personal 
determinatives before the parental name Dayyanatu/Diyyanatu in the Ur Brewers Archive 
(references in UET 7 p. 12 and Gurney, MBTU p. 197, with the discrepancies in gender of 
the personal determinatives noted MBTU p. 56, note to obv. 4'). Note also the Old Babylonian 
usage at Ur: Nanna-mansum DUMU ha-ri-im-ti UET 5 475:7. 

61 With the exceptions oikurgarru (B. 10), kutimmu (B. 1 1 ), nukarribu (B. 1 6), and usandu/usan- 
du (B.21), for which I have yet to find a syllabic spelling. 

62 One should also note in passing that Sassmannshausen in his review of Holscher, PKN 
on Kassite-period personal names from Nippur listed approximately thirty occupation titles 
(Berufsbezeichnungen) used as personal names in that corpus, though he was not of course 
concerned with distinguishing between principal versus ancestral usage (BiOr 55 [1998] 840). 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

B.2 ba'iru, ba'eru. "Fisher, hunter." (a) l ba-i-ru BE 14 80:6. (b) l ba-i-ru 

BE 15 194:21. (c) l ba-i-rum BE 14 151:21. (d) ^ba-e-rum BE 14 83:4. (e) 
l ba-e-rum BE 14 87:5. [also used as a patronym; see A. 6 above] 
B.3 banu. "Builder." (a) l ba-nu-u PBS 8/2 159: 17. 63 [also used as a patronym; 

see A.7 above] 
B.4 esidu. "Harvester." (a) ir e v -si-du BE 15 190 rev. iii' 11. 
B.5 hazannu. "Mayor." (a) a-na l ha-za-an-ni Ni. 2207 rev. 2', 4'. 
B.6 ikkaru. "Plowman." (a) Hk-ka-rum BE 14 57: 14. 64 (b) Hk-ka-rum BE 14 

151:36. [also used as a patronym; see A. 14 above] 
B.7 isparu. "Weaver." (a) Hs-pa-ru Ni. 643: 14 (list ofmunnabittu). [also used as 

a patronym; see A. 15 above] 
B.8 issakku. "(a type of farmer)" (a) Hs-sa-ku BE 15 167:14. 65 [also used as a 

patronym; see A. 1 6 above] 
B.9 kasiru. "Tailor(?)." (a) Hca-si-rum PBS 2/2 130 i 3'. 66 
B.10 kurgarru. "Cultic performer." (a) iKUR.GAR.RA BE 14 61:4. (b) 

'KUR.GAR.PvA BE 14 151:34. (c) 'KUR.GAR.RA TBER pi. 25 AO 8187-3 
ii 5'. [also used as a patronym; see A. 20 above] 
B.ll kutimmu. "Metalsmith (working in precious metals)." (a) 'LU.KU.DIM N 

867 rev. 5'. [also used as a patronym; see A.21 above] 
B.12 mariannu. "Chariot driver." (a) l ma-ri-ia-an-nu CBS 8899 rev. ii 2'. (b) 

[ l ]ma-ri-ia-nu N 1803 rev.? 4'. 67 
B.13 nagaru. "Carpenter." (a) Hia-ga-ru Ni. 3161:21. 68 [also used as a patronym; 

see A.25 above] 
B.14 nagiru. "Herald." (a) l na-gi-rum CBS 7235:12.«> 

B.15 nappahu. "Smith." (a) Hia-ap-pa-hu Ni. 643:6 (list of munnabittu). [also 
used as a patronym; see A.26 above] 

63 There are also more than twenty attestations of a name written l \X]-ba-nu-u, l \X]-ba-ni-i 
(gen.), and 'LU.DU (once), examples of which are listed by Holscher, PKN 46-7. She also 
mentions a writing <'>LU.DU at the beginning of her discussion, but cites no example of its 
use. Sassmannshausen, BiOr 55 (1998) 832, suggests a reading Amilu-banu and compares the 
Middle Babylonian feminine personal name written explicitly as i a-wi-il-tum-ba-ni-tum BE 15 
163:6. This is a possibility even though the same man's name is written I LU-7w 1 -ftK- r w l in 
BE 14 167:23 and as 'LU.DU in PBS 2/2 34:21 (perhaps to be explained by folk etymology, 
writing -banu as though it were -banu?). I have here included only the writing without a 
preceding LU, which must be read without amilu; but, of course, it is possible to interpret this 
too as banu rather than banu. 

64 Interestingly, this individual has the occupation issakku (written ENSI), as can be seen from 
the text heading, line 3. 

65 Cf. a possible l is-sa-ki occurring in broken context in BE 17 54:7. 

66 Though this usage seems to be rare in Middle Babylonian, kasiru is attested as a personal 
name in Babylonia from the Old Babylonian down as late as the Achaemenid period (literature 
in CAD K 264b). 

67 Mariannu is also found as a personal name in Middle Assyrian (Saporetti, Onomastica 1 
317; Freydank and Saporetti, Nuove attestazioni dell ' onomastica medio-assira 83). It occurs 
as a title primarily in peripheral Late Bronze Akkadian. 

68 One may also note BE 15 154:31 ('LU.NAGAR vs. 1 LU.NAGAR?, the former reading 
perhaps more likely). 

69 A more likely reading than 1 na-gi-rum in context because the text is an account listing in 
its right column personal names and officials by title (the latter not preceded by numbers). 


J. A. Brinkman 

B.16 naqidu. "Herder." (a) l na-qP-du BE 15 200 iv 29.™ 

B.17 nukarribu. "Gardener." (a) 'LU.NU.GIS.SAR Ni. 340:7. 71 [also used as a 
patronym; see A.28 above] 

B.18 paharu. "Potter." (a) l pa-ha-rum BE 15 37:48. (b) l pa-ha-rum BE 15 39:10. 
[also used as a patronym; see A. 29 above] 

B.19 redu. "(a type of administrator)." (a) l re-du-u TuM NF 5 69:26. This 

reference, though formally included here, is of doubtful value. This text is 
the only presently known example from Kassite Babylonia that gives redu 
as the title of an active official. Nur-Belet-Akkadi explicitly bears the title 
here (line 9); and later references in the text to l re-du-u (line 26) and re-di-i 
(genitive, line 32) in clauses describing possible future actions are likely to 
be to him. 72 [used as a patronym; see A. 32 above] 

B.20 samidu. "Miller." (a) l sa-mi-du BE 14 33:5 (collated; Clay's copy omits 
a vertical wedge here following 'KIMIN). (b) l sa-mi-di (gen.) TuM NF 5 
18:20. (c) l sa-mi-du UET 7 5 rev. 4 (Ur). (d) hu-rad l sa-mi-di CBS 10958 
rev. 8'. (e) hu-rad l sa-mi-d[i] Ni. 1090 rev.? i'? 5. (f) hu-rad l sa-mi-di Ni. 
6471 rev. 14'. 73 (g) hu-rad l sa-mi- r dV Ni. 11074:20'. 74 [also used as a 
patronym; see A.36 above] 

B.21 sebu, sabil. "Beer-seller." (a) l se-bu-u MSKH 1 pi. 4 no. 8: 15. 75 

B.22 usandu, usandu. "Bird-keeper, bird-catcher." (a) I LU. r MUSENDU n BE 15 
38c:14. (b) ['JLU.MUSEN.DU BE 15 39:9. (c) 'LU.MUSENDTJ BE 15 

Other less probable examples include the following. Ardu, "slave, servant, 
subordinate," 76 even though it does occur as an occupational title in servile 
laborer (gurus) rosters, could just as well be an abbreviation of a name 

70 Thus CAD N/1 334a, PKN 147; this correction was made already in BE 1 5 p. 38 and in CPN 
111. Collation of the original (December 2002) shows that the second-last sign in the name 
is not the clear DI copied by Clay and that r qP might be considered the more likely reading. 
Naqidu also occurs as a personal name in Middle Assyrian (Saporetti, Onomastica 1 347). 

71 The occurrence is in an account text in which all other entries are masculine personal names. 

72 See MRWH 42, and CAD R 250-1 . 

73 This reference was pointed out to me by Daniel Nevez. 

74 Hurad Samidi refers to a location or to a contingent of soldiers, but uses a personal name 
as referent. Whether the Samidu of the name was alive at the time the text was written has not 
been determined (presumably the name could continue after the death of the person). MUN 
452 rev. 1' writes \K\u-rad 'sd'-mi-di without the masculine personal determinative. For huradu 
possibly designating a locale or small settlement, see MSKH 1 392 n. 1 and note the collection 
of geographical names composed of Hurad- in K. Nashef, Die Oris- und Gewdssernamen der 
mittelbabylonischen und mittelassyrischen Zeit (RGTC 5; Wiesbaden : L. Reichert, 1982) 131. 
After the Kassite period, huradu seems to survive in Babylonia mostly in rare use in toponyms: 
(a) NBC 1 1468, an administrative text from year 19 of Adad-apla-iddina [= 105 1], was written 
in URU hu-ra-du; (b) BM 54586, a legal text from year 20 of Kandalanu [= 628] was written 
in URU hu-rad; and (c) TuM 2-3 167, a legal text written in Borsippa in year 10 of Darius [= 
512], mentions a field™ UGU har-ri sa hu-rad su-ha-a-a in lines 2-3. 

75 Note, however, that the occupation title as such is thus far attested only once in Kassite 
period Babylonia and is on that occasion written sa-bi-i (gen.) TuM NF 5 74:23. 

76 E.g., BE 14 66:5, BE 15 109:9, UM 29-13-592 ii' 5'. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

such as Arad-DN. Dayyantu/Diyyantu, "female judge," 77 and Reltu, "shep- 
herdess," 78 occur as personal names in accounts from Nippur; however, nei- 
ther of these words is to my knowledge attested as an occupation or title 
for human beings, but only for goddesses; hence it seems more likely that 
these two should be viewed as abbreviations of longer names which had a 
theophoric element. 79 

C. Discussion 

The preceding examples should suffice to show that, in the Kassite period, 
nouns designating occupations or titles were used to form personal names, 
both patronyms and the names of principals. The question now arises what 
relationship, if any, this practice may have had to the well-attested later 
use of occupation names as family or ancestral names in first-millennium 

Before the seventh century BC, with a few notable exceptions, 80 most 
non-foreign persons in Babylonia were identified in texts with either a one- 
tier reference (PN) or a two-tier reference including a minimal genealogy 
(PN son/daughter of PN2) 81 — the latter type hereafter to be referred to as 
a "two-tier genealogy." In the case of the two-tier genealogy, the governing 
presumption has been that in most cases PN2 represented the name of the 
actual father, biological or adoptive. Just before the middle of the seventh 
century, 82 three-tier genealogies also came into use, at first only sporadically 

77 Ua-a-a-cm-tum BE 14 91a:36; f di-ia-an-tum BE 15 190 iii 18', SAL da-a-a-an-tum CBS 
3650 rev. i' 9', 19' (in a gurus-list). 

78 BE 15 155:24 ( ( re-i-tum) and possibly BE 15 200 iii 29 ( fr re-;'>'-tam' n ). Reltu (written 
l SWA-i-tum) is later attested in the sixth century as an ancestral name (F. Joannes, Archives de 
Borsippa: Lafamille Ea-iluta-bdni [Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1989] 357 YBC 9577:13). 

79 For examples of longer names containing elements derived from dayyantu/diyyantu and 
reltu, see CAD D 33a, R 257a; and PKN 58-9, 110. 

80 E.g., BM 122696 (published in J. A. Brinkman, "A Kassite Seal Mentioning a Babylonian 
Governor of Dilmun," NABU 1993/106), BBSt 5 i 27-ii 3. 

81 I.e., the name of the principal plus a patronym. This was often written, especially in the 
Kassite period and later, as PN DUMU/DUMU.SAL PN2 (with A occasionally replacing the 
simple DUMU in the case of male principals). Somewhat less frequent are the writings PN 
DUMU-™ sd PN 2 and PN sd PN 2 (again with A sometimes replacing DUMU 
for masculine personal names). 

82 There is a single three-tier genealogy in what is preserved of the real-estate purchase O. 
638:17-18 (collated; published in Speleers, Recueil no. 278, dated at Borsippa in the reign of 
Esarhaddon, year number broken away) among twelve other witnesses (all the rest with two-tier 
genealogies), probably because the individual accorded extra identification in the witness list 
is the son of the seller. According to presently available evidence, texts listing all or most 
individuals in them with three-tier genealogies seem to begin in the reign of Samas-sumu- 
ukln, e.g., (a) YBC 9120, with duplicate YBC 1 1391, year 2 (buyer and seller have three-tier 
genealogies, as do nine out of thirteen witnesses); (b) BM 36479, year 13 (all eleven witnesses 
have three-tier genealogies, but no one else in the text does); (c) BM 1 18980, year 14 (buyer 


J. A. Brinkman 

and even later not entirely ousting the older two-tier style. 83 Three-tier 
genealogies most often took the form: PN son/daughter of PN2 "son" of 
PN3. 84 In the three-tier genealogy, the persons named were principal (PN), 
actual father (PN 2 ), and eponymous ancestor (PN 3 ) — the last being either a 
simple personal name (e.g., DabibT or Egibi) or a personal name based on 
an occupation name/title (e.g., Nappahu, "Smith," or Sangu, "chief temple 
administrator"). 85 With the advent of the three-tier genealogy, the principal 
could be more elaborately identified not only by immediate association with 
the next-generation ascendant (father) but also by participation in a larger 
"family" group, since many individuals with more remote ties of putative 
"kinship" than the nuclear or extended family could and did claim descent 
from a common eponymous ancestor or occupation name. 86 

The possibility that such larger groups were more than merely nom- 
inal aggregations is raised by a seventh-century text 87 found in the As- 
syrian royal archives describing in unusually explicit terms the descent 
and family ties of five prominent Babylonians: each man is identified by 
his own personal name (PN) followed by the name of his father (PN2), 88 
the name of his grandfather (PN3), 89 the name of his family (qinni sa E 

and seller three-tier, as apparently are all the witnesses); (d) BM 118983, year 15 (two main 
litigants three-tier, as are five of the six witnesses); (e) YBC 11317, year 20 (three-tier: seven 
of nine neighbors, the seller and the male buyers, all eleven witnesses). A few other texts use 
three-tier and two-tier genealogies in lower proportions: (f) YBC 11413, year 12 (three-tier 
genealogies for the borrower and lender, all others two-tier); (g) BM 47535, year 13 (two main 
male litigants are three-tier, all other personnel two-tier or without genealogy); (h) BM 67424, 
year 14 (only one three-tier genealogy, all others with two-tier or no genealogy); (i) YBC 1 1404, 
year 1 9 (the two neighbors have three-tier genealogies, all others have two-tier genealogies or 
are identified by a brief statement of relationship to other persons in the text). It should be noted 
that texts which contain three-tier genealogies (even an additional handful with only one or 
two examples per text) presently constitute less than 8 % of the texts known from the reign of 
Samas-sumu-ukln — a very slow start for the new-style genealogy. It should also be observed 
that all the texts mentioned above from the reign of Samas-sumu-ukln were written at Babylon, 
with the possible exception of BM 47535 (where the place name is not preserved); and so we 
may be dealing with what was, initially, primarily a local development. 

83 It should be noted that single-tier references to persons remained in use in shorter adminis- 
trative documents, letters, etc., where further identification was not necessary in context. Where 
greater specificity was advisable, especially in more formal legal contexts, more use was made 
of two-tier and three-tier genealogies. 

84 For males: commonly PN A/DUMU-iw sa PN 2 A/DUMU PN 3 . For females: commonly PN 
DUMU. SAL-™ sa PN 2 A/DUMU PN 3 or a variant, where fuller descent is indicated at all 
(females are also often identified by reference to the family into which they had married). 

85 For ease of reference, the distinction between these two categories of ancestor/ancestry will 
be simplified here to: personal-name ancestor vs. occupation-name ancestor. 

86 It was, of course, always possible that the third tier in a three-tier genealogy represented the 
actual grandfather rather than an eponymous ancestor; but, given general usage, this exception 
would have to be demonstrated rather than assumed. 

87 ABL 877 =ADD 889 = SAA 1 1 153. 

88 In four of the cases, PN 2 follows a simple DUMU rather than DUMU-ra sa; in the fifth 
case, it follows a simple A. 

89 In each case, following a simple DUMU. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

PN4), 90 and the location of his ancestral or family House in or near Baby- 
lon. These tantalizing allusions to real estate described as the "House" of 
a large family group indicate that at least the more prominent families not 
only claimed common descent but shared a physical headquarters. 91 The 
text's description of each House of a family with a personal-name ancestor 
as E AD-sw ("House of his father/ancestor") as contrasted with the House 
of the family with an occupation-name ancestor, which appears simply as 
E-su-nu ("their House"), raises the question whether families claiming de- 
scent from personal-name ancestors may have been structurally different or 
at least perceived as different in some way from families associated with 
occupation-name ancestors. 

Thus, in the seventh century, Babylonians began to make use of a clearer 
way of designating ancestral or "family" affiliation of individuals, usually 
by way of the third tier of a three-tier genealogy 92 It is possible through 
such genealogies to trace the names of more than 250 "families" or ancestral 
groups active in Babylonia in the seventh and later centuries. Members of 
the more illustrious of these families often occupied prominent political, 
economic, religious, and cultural positions within Babylonia. The rise and 
progress of such families or even small branches of them have been the 
subject of several recent studies, based mostly on family archives. 93 

These large kin groups did not come into existence only when the written 
three-tier genealogy began to make their presence explicit and more visible 
just before the middle of the seventh century. If one looks at two-tier ge- 
nealogies from the preceding decades, one can see a significant number of 
distinctive later family names appearing as the second tier in two-tier genealo- 
gies. 94 The presumption in such cases has been that these second-tier names 

90 In four of the cases, PN4 is a masculine personal name, each known as the ancestor of 
a prominent family (Gahal, Sumu-libsi [given in the text as Sumu-lubsi], Bel-eteri [actually 
written 'EN-e-fc-ra], and Egibi). In the fifth case, that of the House of the Boatman, PN4 is an 
ancestral occupation-name, LU.MA.LAH4, "Boatman." For the use of Bel-eteri as an ancestral 
name in Babylonia, see J. A. Brinkman and J. P. Nielsen, PNAE 298 s.v. Bel-etera. 

91 And perhaps an explicit organizational structure? 

92 This was further broadened later, in the fourth century, by the introduction of four-tier 
genealogies in an environment where the pool of personal-name choices seems to have shrunk 

93 E.g., Bongenaar, Sippar; Joannes, Archives de Borsippa; M. Jursa, Das Archiv des Bel- 
remanni (PIHANS 86; Leiden: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul, 
1999); I. Spar and E. von Dassow, Private Archive Texts from the First Millennium BC (CT- 
MMA 3; New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000); and C. Wunsch, Das Egibi-Archiv, I: 
Die Felder und Garten (CM 20A; Groningen: Styx, 2000) and Die Urkunden des babylonischen 
Geschciftsmannes Iddin-Marduk (CM 3A-B; 2 vols.; Groningen: Styx, 1993). The older work 
by H. M. Kummel, Familie, Beruf und Amt im spdtbabylonischen Uruk (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 
1979) remains indispensable; and even Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch (Helsinki: 
Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1905), despite its great age, can still be used with profit. 

94 This is true for such names as DabibI and Gahal as well as for the occupation-name 
patronyms. These may be regarded as distinctively ancestral names because they were not borne 


J. A. Brinkman 

are also ancestral or "family" names, cited in the form of patronyms where 
reference to the larger "family" group seemed more significant than men- 
tion of the actual father. One can identify more than fifty examples of these 
ancestral names in two-tier genealogies of this earlier time. Such continuity 
suggests that coherent larger family units — or groups expressing their iden- 
tity in kinship terms — may already have been in place by at least the middle 
of the eighth century, 95 decades before the advent of three-tier genealogies. 96 

Thus the Neo-Babylonian larger family structure, or at least the kinship 
terminology, seem to have been well established in the period ca. 760-648 
BC, i.e., from the reign of Nabu-suma-iskun to Samas-sumu-ukfn, inclusive. 
What about the situation before that date? And what link might there have 
been between these Neo-Babylonian occupation-name ancestors (and their 
putative kin groups) and the Kassite occupation-name patronyms some four 
to six centuries earlier? 

The most obvious connection is stylistic. In the late eighth and early 
seventh centuries, two-tier genealogies commonly list as their second tier an 

by principals at this time and so have little likelihood of designating an actual father. Note that 
such names as these occur even in a provincial letter corpus where very few even second-tier 
genealogies are found: Cole, OIP 114 nos. 38:25 (Dabibi), 38:29 (Gahal), 41:9 (Sangu Ea). 
Further documentation on DabibI and Gahal may be found iaPNAE 358, 418-9, to which the 
OIP 1 14 references should be added. DabibI also occurs as a patronym in the time of the Kassite 
and Second Isin dynasties: DUMU Ua-bi-bi MUN 124:6; DUMU Ua-bi-bi Ni. 128:7; 
DUMU Ua-bi-bi UM 29-13-659:1 1; DUMU.SAL l Da-bi-bi TuM NF 5 44:51 (Isin II). 

95 The number of available texts picks up significantly with the reign of Nabu-suma-iskun, 
whose first regnal year was in the year 760 at the latest. 

96 M. Van De Mieroop, The Ancient Mesopotamian City (revised, paperback ed.; Oxford: 
Oxford University Press, 1999) 107-10 argues that these first-millennium groups were based 
on fictional, not real kinship and that they were essentially organizations of professionals 
sharing the same craft who had combined to form artificial kinship structures. A major part 
of his argument is based on the relatively small number of family names attested at Uruk 
(seventy-seven) during the period from 626 to 520 BC (as outlined in Kummel, Familie, Beruf 
unci Ami). This presumes that Kiimmel's sample of persons is normative. In fact, Kummel 
covers a restricted time and place; and his group may not even be representative of all of Uruk 
(being drawn largely from temple-oriented archives) much less of the rest of Babylonia. 

W.W. Hallo earlier had propounded a theory concerning a guild system of economic 
organization beginning in Middle Babylonian times with the principal crafts grouped into 
often fictitious clans united by a common ancestral name (W.W. Hallo and W.K.Simpson, 
The Ancient Near East [New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich] 1st ed. [1971] 177; 2nd ed. 
[1998] 175-6). There is no evidence for such "economic" guilds in the Kassite period; the 
very restricted presence of occupation-name patronyms among the general population has yet 
to yield any pattern of unity of economic function or purpose. 

While genealogical statements can be political or economic reflections of contemporary 
conditions rather than faithful records of blood descent, it seems premature to brand either the 
Neo-Babylonian or Middle Babylonian "family" or "kinship" structures (or putative structures) 
as fictional without further weighing of the evidence. In addition, one should be searching for 
an origin or an explanation that would accommodate a wide range of occupations from the 
sukkallu and Sangu Sippar on the high end to shepherds and field hands on the low end — 
strikingly different levels of prestige and economic status. The problem is too complex to 
prejudge out of hand, and various alternatives should be kept under consideration. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

occupation-name patronym, e.g.: l su-ma-a DUMU LU.NAGAR. 97 In the thir- 
teenth century, two-tier genealogies exist in exactly the same form, with an 
occupation-name patronym: l E-a-na-ZALAG-sii DUMU LU.NAGAR. 98 In 
the intervening centuries, even with the very sparse documentation between 
1 150 and 760, 99 one can still find examples in the same style. 100 A few com- 
mon ancestral names such as Nagaru and Paharu can be traced through each of 
the major sub-periods from Kassite to later Neo-Babylonian. 101 Even though 
only a small number of ancestral occupation-names can be documented dur- 
ing the centuries between 1150 and 760, just over half 102 the patronyms listed 
above in Section A from Kassite times can be found in ancestral use after 
650 B.C, 103 when the available textual evidence is more plentiful. 104 

There are also contrasts that can be noted between the two relatively 
well-documented periods, i.e., before 1 150 and after 760. A major difference 

91 Strassmaier, Huitieme Congres no. 2:1. 

1)8 BaF7pl. 159 no. 715:9. 

99 There are fewer than sixty non-royal texts spread over these four centuries. 

1( » E.g., WEN.LIL-GI-IBILA DUMU 'LU sak-ru-mas BBSt 8 ii 5-6 (an occupation-name 

patronym known to date only here) and 'SESMES-eri-ba DUMU LU.SIMUG, Studies Sjoberg 

39 rev. 12'. Most examples from this time come from the kudurrus or BM 40548 (Studies 

Sjoberg 37-47). See also the following note. 

101 Nagaru: (a) Section A.25 above [Kassite]; (b) lA AG-ga-mil DUMU LU.NAGAR VAS 1 35:9 
[1 150-760, example dated in year 28 of Nabu-apla-iddina, c. 860]; (c) as cited in the text above 
[760-648, example dated 707]; (d) as documented in Joannes, Archives de Borsippa: Lafamille 
Ea-iluta-bdni 410-1 [after 648] and elsewhere. Paharu: (a) Section A.29 above [Kassite]; (b) 
l mun-na-bit-tu DUMU l pa-ha-ri LU.SAG ZA 65 (1975) 50 i 20 [1150-760, example dated 
c. 1081]; (c) [PN] DUMU LUBAH[AR] BM 40560 r. 7' [760-648, example dated in a (broken 
away) regnal year of Sargon II, i.e., 710/705 in Babylonia]; (d) as documented in Wunsch, Das 
Egibi-Archiv 1/2 33 1-2 and elsewhere [after 648]. 

102 Because the data collection is unsystematic, this percentage itself may not be significant; 
but the fact that there are more than 25 examples of such two-period use in such a random 
collection suggests that the connection is more than coincidental. 

103 The ancestral occupation-names aluzinnu, askapu, atkuppu, atu, bd 'iru, bdqilu, galldbu, 
isparu, issakku, itinnu, kassidakku, kutimmu, malahu, mandidu, nagaru, nappahu, nuhatimmu, 
paharu, re'i alpi, re'i sise, re'u, sasinnu, sdhitu, sangu sa Akkad (as sangu Akkad), sangu 
Sippar, tdbihu are found in use after 650. Attestations for these ancestral occupation names in 
the later period may be found in the prosopographical indexes of the books cited in note 
93 above; but citations for aluzinnu (Strassmaier, Huitieme Congres no. 6:6) and bdqilu 
(TCL 13 173:113) are given here, since these are more difficult to locate. Note that baru 
is attested as a family name as late as 677 (Strassmaier, Huitieme Congres no. 3:10) and 
kurgarru as late as 667 (BRM 1 33:14); so these too did not die out with the Kassite period. 
R. Zadok "Contributions to Babylonian Geography, Prosopography, and Documentation" in 
Studies Dietrich 876 transliterates BM 26533:20 (dated Kandalanu, year 12 or 13) as reading 
Idt AG-k-H> A Ltj. r DAM.GA[R]; but the copy, p. 893, does not support that reading for the 
patronym. These statistics for continuing attestations of the Middle Babylonian occupation- 
name patronyms as ancestral names in the Neo-Babylonian period are probably understated; 
more of them will undoubtedly be recognized by scholars better acquainted with a wide range 
of the Neo-Babylonian material. 

104 It should also be noted that the roster of occupation names in Section A is very likely to 
be expanded by further research, as is the already extensive list of Neo-Babylonian ancestral 


J. A. Brinkman 

seems to be that, in the earlier period, occupation names were also being used 
to serve as the names of principals; hence in any single instance it is possible 
that an occupation-name patronym appearing in a two-tier genealogy refers 
to the actual father rather than to a more remote ancestor. 105 Conversely, 
in most cases, the patronym could equally well refer to a more remote 
ancestor and not the actual father. For most laconic textual references with 
little social context, it will be difficult if not impossible to prove or disprove 
either alternative. For the later period, after 760, 1 have not as yet discovered 
examples of occupation names which serve both as the names of principals 
and as ancestral names. In fact, to date I have found only one occupation 
name or title, hazannu, "mayor," which is used for the name of principals at 
this time; 106 but this title seems to have had very limited — and, in any case, 
earlier — use as an ancestral name. 107 

The simultaneous use of occupation names to form the names of princi- 
pals and of patronyms in the Kassite period provides conditions under which 
the origin of the custom of occupation-name ancestral designations could 
readily be explained. A patronym originally designating a prominent actual 
father either by title alone (rather than a personal name) or by a personal 
name derived from an occupation or title (such as the individuals listed in 
Section B above) could then subsequently have been passed down to descen- 
dants beyond the first generation. This would of course presume a single 
eponymous ancestor for an occupation-derived patronym in much the same 
sense that an eponymous personal-name ancestor can on occasion be shown 
to have been a single, living person dated to a particular time. The prime ex- 
ample of the latter type is the ubiquitously attested (MB/NB/LB) eponymous 
ancestral name Arad-Ea, 108 which can now be tracked back to a narrow time 
range in which it was used as a patronym representing an actual father (the 
second tier in a five-tier genealogy), probably in the late fifteenth or early 
fourteenth century 109 But whether we should seek the origin of occupation- 
name patronyms in a single real ancestor should not be taken for granted. The 
tradition may have had a different origin. Since we lack the documentation 
at present to settle the question, it is preferable to keep an open mind about 
various possibilities. 

105 It should be noted that this use of occupation names for the name of principals may also 
be found under the Second Dynasty of Isin: l sa-mi-du (BBSt 8 ii 21) and possibly l a-tu-'-u 
Hinke Kudurru v 14 (though the latter would be an exceptional syllabic — and uncontracted — 
orthography for atu outside lexicographic texts). 

106 iha-za-nu TuM 2-3 8:35 (reign of Marduk-apla-iddina II, year broken), 1 ha-za-an-ni (gen.) 
OA 22 (1983) 40, FLP 1386:35 (Esarhaddon, accession year, i.e., 680). 

107 If this is indeed how we are to read l mu-sib-sa A LU ha-za-an-na' in VAS 1 35:41 (this 
section of the text dated in year 1 1 of Marduk-zakir-sumi I, i.e., 840). 

'OS See especially the discussion by Lambert, JCS 11 (1957) 9-10 and 112. For the Neo- 
Babylonian period, see, e.g., Bongenaar, Sippar 540; Wunsch, Das Egibi-Archiv 1/2 275. 
"» NABU 1993/106. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

But stylistic continuity or at least parallelism does not guarantee that 
the institutional or social fabric existed in essentially the same form in 
the two widely separated eras. We do not really understand much about 
the structure of the Babylonian larger family unit or kin group in either 
the Kassite or the later Neo-Babylonian period; and it is possible that the 
stylistic similarity of designation is merely a superficial resemblance. By 
the sixth century, the later Neo-Babylonian kin groups seem to have be- 
come a pervasive factor in society, at least in those strata most often rep- 
resented in the surviving textual evidence. Recognition of ancestry and 
ancestral groupings was an important part of self-identification of indi- 
viduals in more formal contemporary texts. In the Kassite period, those 
patronyms which might potentially refer to more remote ancestors are dis- 
tinctly in the minority; even if most of those occupation-name patronyms 
were to turn out to be broadly ancestral rather than narrowly paternal in 
reference, it would seem that only a small segment of society was in- 

What conclusions can be drawn from this? First, there seems little doubt 
that occupation names were used to form both patronyms and the names of 
principals in the Kassite period. Though the examples adduced in Section 
A may not all stand the test of time, there are a sufficient range of textual 
attestations that it is unlikely that the existence of this type of patronym will 
be discounted. Second the stylistic similarity between the occupation-name 
two-tier patronyms in the Kassite period and the occupation-name two-tier 
patronyms in Babylonia after 760 at least raises the possibility that the earlier 
of these two groups should be regarded as capable of expressing ancestry 
reaching beyond the literal actual-father patronym. But, with our meager 
knowledge of social structures in both periods, it is impossible at present to 
demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that this earlier usage is anything 
more than a potential antecedent of the later practice. 

Suggestions for directions of future research could include the following. 
Within the Kassite period are there any common characteristics, other than 
naming practice, for individuals who bear occupation-name patronyms? At 
first glance, they do not seem to occupy distinctive social or economic 
strata. They perform diverse functions and do not necessarily seem to be 
involved in occupations that reflect their patronyms. 110 They are spread 

110 Examples in Section A above: 20b (0 mar kurgarri, who is a potter), 21a (PN, mar 
kutimmi, who is an arad ekalli), 23c (PN marat malahi, who is an amat ekalli engaged in 
garment production), 3 1 a (PN mar fqadilti, who is a naqidu), 40c (0 mar sahiti, who is a type 
of farm worker); it may perhaps be better to defer judgment about the individuals designated 
as amat/arad ekalli until we are sure that this is an occupational rather than a status label in 
this period. Compare also Section B.6 and note 64 above. I have yet to find an example of a 
person with an occupation-name patronym who was exercising the occupation alluded to in the 


J. A. Brinkman 

out geographically and chronologically — at least within the fourteenth and 
thirteenth centuries, when the vast majority of the texts originate. 111 It 
would be helpful to undertake a more systematic investigation to present 
a nuanced picture of the socio-economic contexts in which they occur. 112 
Within the Neo-Babylonian period one could consider investigating potential 
differences between families with personal-name ancestors and families with 
occupation-name ancestors — structure of the groups, status of offices or 
occupations which the two types held 113 their various roles in the economy 
and cultural life. 

And finally, what about comparable use of occupational personal names 
(or patronyms) in other periods and places? The practice does not seem to be 
well attested outside Babylonia proper in the Kassite and Neo-Babylonian pe- 
riods; yet one can find scattered examples over a range of times and places. For 
example, the personal name Paharu was used also at least in Old Akkadian, 1 14 
Old Babylonian, 115 and even in Late Bronze Emar. 116 In Old Assyrian, there 
is a reference to the eponymy of A-hu-qar DUMU DAM. GAR in Kiiltepe 
n/k 10:38. 117 In Nuzi, there is a dMAR.TU-LUGAL.MES-DINGIR.MES 
DUB.SAR DUMU qa-si-ri DUB.SAR, reminiscent of the Middle Babylo- 
nian kasiru (Section B.9 above). 118 In Middle Assyrian, where this type of 

1 ' ' On a very few occasions, account texts from Nippur refer to "sons" of some occupation- 
name titles in the plural and probably in a collective sense. Ni. 866 refers to 13 DUMU.MES 
GEME E.GAL mentioned in connection with the hiring of a boat (A GIS.MA.U5). Ni. 2677 lists 
rations ([S]E.BA) with a series of at least eight entries of recipients described as DUMU.MES 
PN; the final entry lists DUMU.MES LU.NAR.MES. Ni. 1 1 10 summarizes a series of DUMU 
PN (one) and DUMU.ME PN (five) entries in the total line as DUMU.ME LU.GALA.MES 
LIBIR.RA.MES (" 'sons' of old/former lamentation priests"?); NBC 7959, a partially parallel 
text dated in year 6 of Kadasman-Enlil II (=1258], summarizes five DUMU.MES PN entries 
and two DUMU PN entries simply as GALA.MES LIBIR.RA.MES (all six of the PNN in the 
Ni. 1110 section also occur in this part of NBC 7959) and has a preceding section summarized 
as GALA.MES r GIBIL n .MES. These groupings, the apparent equivalence of GALA.MES 
and DUMU.ME LU.GALA.MES, the contrast between "old" and "new" lamentation priests 
raise interesting questions, as does their relevance to the occupation-name patronym practice 
elaborated in this article. 

112 One might also take into consideration at some point Middle Babylonian geographical 
names formed with occupation names, such as Al-nappahi, Al-nare, Alu-sa-issakki, Alu-sa- 
saliha (sic), Bit malahi, etc. The list can be considerably expanded. 

113 E.g., were governors chosen primarily (or exclusively?) from the ranks of families with 
personal-name ancestors? 

114 E.g.,pd-har (BIN 8 273 : 1 6), pd-ha-ru-um (ITT 4 7863 [p. 78]). 

115 E.g., DUMU SAL pa-ha-ri VAS 9 174:40. 

116 Note, for instance, its use in the three-tier genealogies of a brother and sister: l qi-ri - d KUR 
DUMU hab-i DUMU pa-ha-ri (D Arnaud, Textes syriens de I 'age du bronze recent [AuOrS 1 ; 
Barcelona: Editorial AUSA, 1991] no. 24: 9) and tpi-is-sa DUMUSAL hab-i DUMU pa-ha-ri 
(Studies Kutscher 167 no. 1:1). 

117 Cited from CAD T proofs s.v. tamkaru. 

us JEN 414:26; the MES after LUGAL is presumably to be deleted. There would be the 
same reservations with interpreting this PN as an occupation name as there are for the Middle 
Babylonian kasiru itself. 


The Use of Occupation Names as Patronyms in the Kassite Period 

name seems to be better attested, 1 19 there are a few patronyms worthy of note: 
DUMU gal-la-be, 120 l su-tf '(copy: -hu)-e DUMU sa-sin, 121 and 'DUMU 
sa-qe-e; 122 and there are at least several other occupation names that occur as 
names of principals: Da"anu, Ikkaru, Mariannu, Naqidu, Qadiltu, Samidu, 
and Tabihu. 123 In Neo- Assyrian, there seem to be considerably fewer exam- 
ples; I have thus far noted hazanu/hazianu, ikkaru, and kasiru. 124 It would 
be helpful to see how widespread the usage might be beyond these few 
incidental examples. 

Postscript. This article was submitted for publication in December 2002. 
Since that time, further pertinent material has become available, which I will 
treat elsewhere. Similar family names based on the names of occupations are 
also attested in the thirteenth and twelfth-century archives from Babylon. 

119 Or at least better documented, thanks to Saporetti, Onomastica and its Freydank-Saporetti 

1 20 AfO 10 (1935-36) 35 no. 61:7. See also note 29 above. 

121 KAV 1 19: 16, possibly representing sasinnul 

122 4/0 23(1970)79-80:9, 18,26; AoF \ (1974)361:18. 

123 For references, see notes 27, 33, 67, 70, 43, and 54 above. 

124 Documentation may be found in PNAE 469, 470, 509, 607 and in Tallqvist, APN 88, 95, 
113. It is better to regard kasiru as an abbreviated name (as discussed above in Section B) 
rather than to take it as an occupation name, baru is another possibility, but unlikely for the 
reasons noted in PNAE 273. 



Jeanny V. Canby 

The University Museum has fragments of two flat stone plaques from 
the 1893-96 seasons of the Nippur excavations. Square and perforated in 
the middle, this type of object is typical of the Early Dynastic period in 
Mesopotamia (ca. 3000-2334 BC) and is included in many studies. Plaques 
have been found in temples along with statuettes that often have the names 
of the people they represented carved on them. Although the figures on 
the plaques have no indications of divinity, there is still a discussion as to 
whether they might be gods. 1 Like the statuettes, the character of each plaque 
is unique and easily recognized, and some scenes are so often repeated that 
missing parts of similar scenes can readily be reconstructed. Fortunately, the 
Museum's plaques are of this common type that usually has three registers 
concerned with some sort of celebration in which a male and female take 
part. This type of plaque often shows the figures playing music, preparing 
food, and traveling to the event. 

I. UM 85-48-998 to 85-48-1004 

Eight fragments of one of the plaques had been set into plaster. 2 The pieces 
were widely spaced and some were crooked, but they were in an order 
that shows the scenes were recognized (Fig. 1). At a later time, the best- 
preserved fragment, showing a boat, was cut out of the plaster, probably for 
an exhibition (Fig. 2). In looking over known plaques and fragments, some 
pieces in the Hilprecht Collection in Jena, Germany caught my attention 
(Figs. 3, 4). 3 These were first published in 1929 and have been frequently 
cited since. There was much to suggest that the Jena fragments and the 
Philadelphia pieces might go together. The surface of the fragments in both 
places is deeply cracked with parts flaked off or dissolved. Finally, I learned 
that in the archives of the University Museum there is a squeeze of the two 
Jena pieces along with the boat fragment in the University Museum (Fig. 2) 
that had been discovered by Westenholz and published by him and Oelsner 

1 G. Selz, Die Bankettszene {2 vols.; FAOS 1 1 ; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1983)441-62. 

2 From Nippur, Third Expedition, 1893-96; UM 85-48-998 to 85-48-1004 (in drawer A 36); 
height ca. 0.36 m. Catalogued in 1908 by Hilprecht. 

3 The plaques have been conveniently assembled by J. Boese, Altmesopotamische Weihplatten, 
eine sumerische Denkmalsgattung des 3. Jahrtausends v. Chr. (Untersuchungen zur Assyriolo- 
gie und vorderasiatischen Archaologie 6; Berlin: De Gruyter, 1971). 


Jeanny V. Canby 

in 1983. 4 The squeeze proves the pieces were once together. Westenholz 
also discovered that the Jena pieces were mentioned in Haynes' reports from 
Nippur in which they are said to have been found in Mound III (Tempelhugel) 
between the layers of the Ur-Nammu platform, not underneath it as he earlier 

The upper right corner and the lower left corner of the plaque are in 
Jena, numbers 888 (Fig. 3) and 887 (Fig. 4), respectively. The plaque is best 
described as whole (Fig. 5). On the upper right corner a male figure sits on 
a heavy stool. A long twisted lock of hair hangs down beside his tapered 
beard to the thick rolled belt. He wears a typical male costume of the Early 
Dynastic period — a skirt plain to knee with a row of long chevron-shaped 
fringes along the bottom. He holds the handle of a fly whisk in his left hand 
while the soft end curves over his lap. The surface has dissolved where the 
right lower arm should appear raising a cup. At the left end of the register sat 
a female companion of whom only the front edge of a voluminous robe and 
the outline of a fly whisk on her lap remain. Standing before her was another 
figure represented now by the back of the hips, the skirt, and the sharp elbow 
of a lower arm bent over the waist. The plain skirt is preserved in patches 
with some grooves on the bottom that could be edges. 

To the right of these two figures, on another fragment, is a harpist who 
has the edge of his instrument tucked under the right elbow and his fingers 
on the third of five strings. The skirt is plain from waist to the knees, then 
has a border of four large chevron-shaped tufts preserved. On the right side 
of the harpist fragment there is an upper arm and the edge of a long lock 
of hair of another figure. A further fragment shows the piece of man's skirt 
and legs that probably belong to this figure. The heads of these people were 
probably like that of the seated man in the register. Attendants usually look 
no different than the principals. 

In the middle register, bovine figures lie on either side of the square hole 
in the middle of the plaque. The long thick neck and double chin of the animal 
at left (on Jena 887) prove these are cattle. The animals face the outside of 
the plaque in a reclining pose, propped up on one foreleg with hind leg bent 
under them and the tail encircling the rump. They are tethered by a rope 
around the hoof of the foreleg that is tucked up against the belly. 

In the lower register men paddle a boat using long paddles that have large 
heart-shaped blades. The pointed stern and bow of the boat are very high. The 
men have long locks of hair hanging down beside their beards. Their skirts 
billow out like that of the figure seated at right above. In the water under the 
boat a school of fish swim close together. Some have pointed heads, dorsal 
fins, and short, wide tails. Others have longer tails and more rounded heads. 

4 A. Westenholz and Joachim Oelsner, "Weihplattenfragmente der Hilprecht-Sammlung Jena,' 
AoF 10 (1983) 210-2. 


Early Dynastic Plaque Fragments 

Scales are indicated and in one case, an eye is as well. A large bird with a 
long neck, probably a goose, swims in front of the boat directly above a fish, 
partly covering it. 5 A square section appears cut out of the front side of the 

II. B 13151-4 

The second fragmentary plaque from Nippur in the University Museum (B 
1315 1 — 4) consists of five fragments of its right half (Fig. 6). 6 The surface is 
in excellent condition, but the under side of the stone has horizontal cracks 
and some dissolved surfaces. A thin slice of the top register is missing. The 
scenes are similar to those of the first plaque discussed above. In the top 
register a man with a long thin beard sits on a high stool. He has a lock of 
hair over his chest and wears a plain skirt with six deep chevron shaped tufts 
at the bottom. It is less bouffant than that of his counterpart on the other 
plaque. He grasps the handle of a fly whisk in his left hand with the limp end 
hanging over his skirt. In front of him is the pointed base of a tall, slender 
vessel fitted into what looks like a high, narrow beaker of the period, standing 
on the ground. The high-arched feet of a figure in a short, male skirt with 
tufts are seen on the other side of the vessel. 

In the middle register a long-horned goat lies on one foreleg that is 
stretched out along its neck. The other foreleg and a hind leg are bent under 
it. It is not tethered. The goat has a tiny head an enormous eye like the human 
figures on the plaque, and a very long, thin neck. 7 Behind it is the edge of 
the central perforation. In the third register, the head and upper arm of a man 
paddling a high-prowed boat are preserved. 

Except for the small-headed goat on the second plaque and the goose on 
the first, the scenes on the Museum plaques are quite usual. It is therefore 
interesting that a complete plaque formerly in the Erlenmeyer Collection 
has both unusual features. 8 In the middle register on the left side of the 
Erlenmeyer piece there is a goat with a similar small head. In the bottom 
register three men paddle a boat. A passenger raising a cup sits on a plain 
stool behind the front paddler. Fish also swim under this boat and a very 

5 Note that all the heads and the stern of the boat break through the frame above as does the 
prow of the boat on the second plaque fragment in the University Museum. 

6 Nippur, Season of 1893-96; B 13 15 1 — 4 (in drawer A-36). Top fragment: height, 0.045m.; 
greatest preserved width, 0.015m.; lower fragment: height, 0.108m.; greatest preserved width, 

7 For more normal kneeling goats from Asmar, see OIP 60 pi. 66 no. 323 (from the Square 
Temple) and pi. 106 (from the Single Shrine Temple). 

8 M.-L. Erlenmeyer and H. Erlenmeyer, "Cerviden-Darstellung auf altorientalischen und 
agaischen Siegeln II," ONS 26 (1957) 323 pis. 16-7, figs. 8-9; Boese, Weihplatten 209-10 
and pi. 38; in Sotheby Catalogue of Sale no. 281 (September 7, 1992) 182. 


Jeanny V. Canby 

fat duck(?) swims before the bow. Another, smaller bird perches at the bow 
inside the boat. Remarkably, there is an incised square in the same place 
where a square section is missing from the boat in the University Museum. 


Early Dynastic Plaque Fragments 

Fig. 1. UM Plaque I restored in plaster 


Jeanny V. Canby 

Fig. 2. UM Plaque I boat cut away from other fragments 


Early Dynastic Plaque Fragments 

Fig. 3. Jena Plaque Fragment 


Jeanny V. Canby 

Fig. 4. Jena Plaque Fragment 887 


Early Dynastic Plaque Fragments 

Fig. 5. Plaque I restored with Jena Fragments 


Jeanny V. Canby 

Fig. 6. UM Plaque II 



Miguel Civil 

This is a study of a little known Sumerian word, its meaning, its origin, and its 
secondary semantic extensions. It is intended to honor, however inadequately, 
a scholar, who without being a Sumerologist, has been, behind the scenes 
as it were, one of the creative forces behind the Pennsylvania Sumerian 
Dictionary. l 

1. Lexical Sources 

1.1. The basic passage is Old Babylonian Proto-Lu 379-82 (MSL 12 46): 

[1] 379 gaU-la 

380 gaU-la 

381 sik-gaU-la 

382 bes-en-ze-er 2 

A comparison with [4] and [5] shows how closely lexical texts depend on 
the traditional literary works. 

1 .2. NW recension. The Emar version of Lu (Arnaud, Emar 6/4 no. 602:368'- 
72' [Msk 74121 vii 8'ff.]) gives: 

[2] 368' s al gal 4 u-ru 

369' s al gal4 bi-is-su-ru 

370' sik-gaU-la su-uh-su : iz-bu 

371' bi-in-zi-ir U-pi-is-si2o-tU4 : td-an-na-bu 

372' sik-na-BI ha-an-du-tii 

The word suhsu in line 370' is apparently a lexical hapax, in need of 
confirmation in view of the peculiar spellings in the Emar lexical texts; 3 

1 J. Westenholz, G. Rubio, and C. Woods read a draft and provided valuable suggestions. 
C. Wunsch collated some texts in the British Museum. I am grateful to them all. 

2 Two sources have incorrectly -en, against six with -er. The transliteration with b- is meant 
to reflect the etymology, but since the word has crossed linguistic borders, this is an arbitrary, 
unprovable decision. 

3 If the form is genuine and has to be taken as a derivation from sahasu, "to catch in a net," 
according to CAD S 54b s.v, it could reflect perhaps a connection between "pubic hair" and 
"net" or "web," see below (4). 


Miguel Civil 

the "Western" Semitic gloss iz-bu is susceptible of several readings and 
interpretations. In line 371', U-pi-is-si2o-tU4 stands for lipissatu, given as 
synonym of bissilru in Hg B IV 22 (MSL 9 34); td-an-na-bu means simply 
'something filthy' and is not to be considered properly an anatomical term. 
Line 372' is found only in Emar, its Akkadian, however, is known as a 
synonym ofbissilru, see below (3). The parallel Ugarit sources (unpubl.) are 
unilingual and offer the following variants: 368'fi: gaU-la; 371': bes-en-ze-er; 
372' is omitted. These lines from Proto-Lu and MB Lu are not preserved or 
were not included in canonical Lu, unless K 9893(!) in MSL 9 25 turns out 
to be part of canonical Lu. 4 As a rule the lexical list Ugu-mu (MSL 9 51-73) 
does not include specifically female body parts. 

1 .3 . In the series of Sumerian words for lipissatu (as part of the animal body) 
in Hh 15:210— 14 5 bes-en-ze-er is missing among the terms after isaru and 
isku and before za-ra-ah = laql[aqqu] and di5 tes = ha[nduttu\. It is equally 
missing in Hg B IV 22 "(MSL 9 34). In the small fragment K 9893 (MSL 9 
25, collated from photo) 6 the Sumerian subcolumn is missing, and in Rm 
963:6'-8' (MSL 9 25, collated by C. Wunsch) the Sumerian is [pa]-pah as in 
Hh 15:212. It would seem thus that the word bes-en-ze-er disappeared from 
the later lexical tradition. 

1.4. The Akkadianized form is found in: 

[3] i-z\ = be 5 -en-zu-rum Proto-Izi 1:369 (MSL 13 29) 

i-iz? = be 5 -en-z[u]r-r[u] Izi 5 : 82 (MSL 1 3 1 63) 

For a discussion, see [5] below. 

2. Literary Texts 

[4] gaL-la tur sik gaL-la gid-gid bes-ze-er HAR Two Women B: 149 f. 

A small vulva, very long pubic hairs, a ... b. 

[5] [sik gal 4 ]-la si4-si4 bes-en-ze-er bu-ud-bar 8 r x n [. . .] Two Women A D:25 
Reddish pubic hairs, a lame(?) b, [...]. 

4 Reedited in the Appendix. 

5 MSL 9 12 completed by MSL SS 1 49 no. 34 and pi. viii. 

6 Given incorrectly as K 9983 in MSL 9. 

7 Var. i-zi (MSL 9 163). 

8 See PSD B 169a s.v. Additional passages are: bu-ud-bar ma-ad igi KU BU-a, bu-ud-bar hul- 
dim-ma nig ni-zu su-e P 1.1 13-4 (see Alster, SP 1 26, completed by an unpubl. text, courtesy 
D. Owen); bu-ud-bar [. . .] e ib-si-[. . .] Edubba D 74, and bu-ud-bar-ra mus-bi ki nu-ag Ribatum 
7 (unpubl.). The Akkadian translation is the obscure harsu A, see also muharrisu. 


bes/pe-en-ze-er = bissuru 

[6] li dam-mu na-ma-ab-il-i 9 

bes-en-ze-er-mu ugun la-ba-ak-e 

My husband does not need to bring me grass, Proverb 14.43 

my b. will not be decorated. (Alster, SP 1 220) 10 

The first two passages are part of derogatory, insulting descriptions of the 
female body. The implications of the proverb are not clear. Here li is better 
understood as "plants, grass" used as a "decoration" of a bed rather than 
"food" or "firewood." Cf. the topos gis-na u za-gin bara-ga, "a bed strewn 
with green grass" Ur-Namma A 159, Temple Hymns 210, Enmerkar and 
Enmuskesdana 8 1 , cf. Lament Sumer and Ur 443 . The implications of ugun- 
ak, whether in a metaphorical sense or not, 11 are unclear: they can range 
from readiness of the woman (no need to woo her) to refusal (whatever 
the husband does, she will not be willing). Other interpretations are still 

3. Meaning 

It is obvious that bes-en-ze-er designates the female sex organ or part thereof. 
It is a loan from Semitic, attested only in Akk. bissuru and Ar. bazr or 
bunzur (with many variants), 12 "clitoris," see already H. Holma, Die Namen 
der Korperteile im Assyrisch-Babylonischen, eine lexikalisch-etymologische 
Studie (Annales academiae scientiarum Fennicae B/7/1; Helsinki: Suoma- 
laisen tiedeakatemian kustantama, 1911)101 f. "weibliche Scham," and now 
the comparative dictionaries: D. Cohen, Dictionnaire des racines semitiques 
2 (Paris: Mouton, 1976) 61b; VE. Orel and O. V Stolbova, Hamito-Semitic 
Etymological Dictionary (HdO 1/18; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995) 70 no. 279; 
A. Militarev and L. Kogan, Semitic Etymological Dictionary (AOAT 278/1; 
Minister: Ugarit-Verlag, 2000) 35 no. 37. As often happens with loanwords, 
when the native competing word is preserved a semantic readjustment of the 

9 3 N-T 930h+, not used by Alster, has nothing after -i. 

10 The translations bes-en-ze-er "leather worker(?)" (Alster, SP 432) and "ein Funktionar" 
(AHw 854 s.v. penzur(r)u(m)) assume that because the entry is found in Proto-Lu it has to 
designate a person or trade. Jacobsen, apud E. Gordon, "Sumerian Proverbs and their Cultural 
Significance" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1955) 549 proposed "my spinning-girl 
does not do (multicolor) work." 

11 I would not go as far as proposing a restoration [ugun]-ak-a = ithuzu sa DAM in Nabnltu 
3:271 (MSL 16 67); such a restoration would provide a much more direct sexual sense. 

12 There are reflexes of this word in Mehri, though the consonant correspondence is irregular: 
bez' e r, ifiz'oov^r "slit, vulva" (slang), T. M. Johnstone, Mehri Lexicon (London: School of 
Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1987) 62; Harsusi beselet, "clitoris." 
T.M. Johnstone, Harsusi Lexicon (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977) 20 is probably 
related (refs. courtesy G. Rubio). 


Miguel Civil 

resulting doublet takes place, cf. cases such as kaskal and har-ra-an or gir 
and ba-da-ra in Sumerian. Thus it is not apparent in what respect the more 
frequent term gaU-la and bes-en-ze-er differ. Leaving aside euphemistic or 
derogative Sumerian designations, such as za-ra-ah = laqlaqqu Hh 15:215, 
"crane" (and at the same time an unpleasant skin condition, cf. also Akk. 
guristu), or murub = suhhu "opening" (explained in the commentary CT 41 
30:17 as uri sa SAL and listed by one copy of Hh 15 [MSL 9 6:24a] by 
attraction after pu), the most common competing Akkadian terms, quasi- 
synonymous with bissuru, are uru, lipissatu, and handuttu; see K 9893 and 
Rm 963, quoted above (1.3). The most frequent term seems to be uru, if 
only because Assyriologists usually prefer to read the logogram SAL. (LA) 
this way, though often without clear reasons. Unfortunately, the other three 
terms are infrequent enough so that a closer semantic determination (labia, 
clitoris, vagina, vulva) is not possible. 13 It is not even clear whether the ter- 
minology of the time would have distinguished all these anatomical parts. 
If the reasoning in the following paragraph (4) is correct, a meaning that 
includes the pubic hair is required. In dealing with sexual terms one has to 
keep in mind two things: first, they tend to be vague, imprecise, and rid- 
dled with metaphors; 14 and second, their use is markedly a function of the 
social dimension. Unfortunately, at a remove from the distant past, it is al- 
most impossible to decide what was vulgar, "obscene," or not to be said in 
"polite" company. However, since the literary texts quoted above belong to 
the popular genres of dialogues and proverbs, it is likely that they had an 
intended shocking effect, and thus bes-en-ze-er could very well be a "vulgar" 
synonym of gaL-la. 

4. Additional Meanings 

A second meaning of bes-en-ze-er, with the determinative u (possibly incor- 
porated into the Akkadian form), is "spiderweb." The main lexical passage 
is Hh 14:334 f. (MSL 8/2 36), immediately before "spider": 15 

[7] 334 "li-sur-sur (u).pi-in-zi-ir 
335 "KAzu-sur MIN 

13 The meaning "womb" appears to be a good translation of remu, note however that the 
passage W.G. Lambert, JSS 4 (1959) 10b 5, 7 (quoted CAD L 199a s.v. lipissatu) speaks of 
"a rag to wipe" the remu; if the passage is to be taken literally remu can hardly be there an 
internal organ. 

14 For an example of a good study of the sexual vocabulary of a particular language, see 
J.N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (London: Duckworth, 1982) esp. 80-109. 

15 See B. Landsberger, Fauna 135 ff. pointing to the right interpretation. 


bes/pe-en-ze-er = bissuru 

The Akkadian of line 334 has numerous variants (see MSL 8/1 36), all 
without the ending -u. The root sur has here the common meaning "to spin." 16 
The Mesopotamian scribes obviously had difficulties classifying cobwebs in 
the natural order of things. The assigned placement next to spiders in Hh 14 is 
quite logical, but the scribal tradition included it also among plants in the OB 
forerunners and in the NW recension of Hh 17. The term is not preserved 
in the canonical recension and possibly was not included in it, since it is 
missing in its traditional place in the older sources, inserted after munzer by 
phonological attraction. For monolingual forerunners, see MSL 10 120:14 
and 124 3b:4. The corrupt Ugarit text (no sources from Emar are available) 
shows that the scribes hardly understood the passage (cf. MSL 10 108 ad 
33 f). 

[8] 33 "pi-in-sir ir (var. "pi-in-ze-er) as-tu (var. UL.KU as-tum) 
34 "si sic -in-sir ir da-di-lu (var. sa-mu-ut-tum) 

The term appears in Uruanna with numerous pharmaceutical synonyms, 
which do not need to be discussed here, and it refers to a medication used 
mostly for skin lesions (references in J. Scurlock, "Creepy Medicine"). 17 The 
use of cobwebs to treat skin wounds and the like is widespread in the history 
of ethnomedicine. Unless one assumes two separate, but homophonous or 
quasi-homophonous words, an assumption with no etymological basis at 
present, the only solution is to postulate a semantic extension from "pubic 
hair" to "spider web." If this solution is correct, a further extension from 
spiderweb to a weblike structure offers no problem. This structure could be 
made of red mats (Hh 8:303-5, revised edition): 

[9] 303 gikid-nig-nigin-na nalmu 

304 8>kid-a-ur-ra MIN 

305 g'kid-a-iir-ra kit bunzirri 

It could also be made of leather strips (Hh 1 1 : 144, revised edition): 
[10] ku§ kin-tur bu-un-zf-ir'-rt- 

The synonym nalmu (not in the dictionaries) in [9] suggests that the bunzirru 
was used to make enclosures, and thus it may designate a trap (see below, 5) 
rather than a "fowler's blind" as suggested by CAD B 322a s.v. However, the 
following passage (Erimhus 5: 125, MSL 17 72) could be adduced to support 
the latter: 

16 J. Scurlock, "pizzer or upinsir: Creepy Medicine," NABU 1995/1 10 translates it "spitting 
is this a typo for "spinning?" 

17 Her translation "cantharides" (Spanish fly) I find unsupported. 


Miguel Civil 
[11] igi-tab bu-un-zir-ri 

A point of major interest in [9]-[l 1] is the reborrowing of bes-en-ze-er into 
Akkadian as bunzirru. The relationship of the words just discussed can be 
resumed as follows: 

Sem. (Ar.) bnzr 
Akk. bissuru Sum. b/penzer 

Akk. (u)pinsir Akk. b/punzirru 

5. Residual Forms 

The passages quoted sub [3] could be related to a meaning "enclosure" [9]- 
[11], since i-zi (var. iz-zi) means "wall" (CAD I/J 34b s.v. igaru) besides 
"wave." AHw 854 s.v. pe(n)zuru(m) cites Pl-zi-ri-um from UET 3 676; the 
word appears also in UET 3 477 without -um. It is a small item (nine of them 
weigh one shekel) of gold jewelry. The word remains obscure in form and 
meaning, and a connection with bes-en-ze-er is most unlikely. 

6. Other Words Ending in -nzer 

There are a number of other words ending in -nzer, the better known 
being: humunzer, henzer, munzer, ganzer, and kimanzer. The first two are 
unproblematic borrowings from Semitic meaning "mouse" (or a similar 
rodent), and "piglet," respectively. The latter means also "child," a reasonable 
semantic extension, and is used as a personal name in Old Akkadian. For 
munzer, a plant, possibly licorice, ' 8 and for ganzer "flame" there is no obvious 
etymology. The last one, written ki ma-an-ze-er and meaning "slippery 
place," could perhaps be analyzed as a Sumerian phrase: "a place (which) is 
slippery for me." All, except perhaps the last one, must be thus considered 
foreign words. 

In conclusion, these notes may clarify what images may have been in the 
mind of someone who heard the words of the sa-zi-ga incantation: asbaku 
ina bunzirri sa sihati bu 'ura aj ahti "I am sitting on a ' spider web' of delights, 
may I miss no prey" (TCS 2 33:12f). 

18 M. Civil, "Feeding Dumuzi's Sheep: The Lexicon as a Source of Literary Inspiration," in 
Studies Reiner 46. 


bes/pe-en-ze-er = bissuru 


The fragment K 9893 (quoted as K 9983 in MSL 9 25, transliterated here 
from photo and collated by C. Wunsch) could perhaps be a fragment of lu = 
sa, roughly parallel to the Emar text: 

col. i' 

col. ii' 














Rm 963:5'~7' is somewhat related though it employs different logograms. It 
is an undentified fragment (collated also by C. Wunsch), possibly Antagal, 
which is similarly quoted in MSL 9 25 and gives the following: 


r x n s a [ . . . 
MIN sa [ . 


ma-a\s ? -x] 

5' [(x) m]ug 
6' [pa]-pah 
7' [...]- r x n -ba 


8' [suh]ur ? -la hul-[...] 

9' [«g]ib-la ni-[bit-tu] 

10' [(x)-n]am ? -dara mi-[sir-ru] 



Mark E. Cohen 

Hab/piru has been understood variously as designating members of a low 
social stratum, migrants, refugees, brigands, the detribalized who from time 
to time served as mercenaries. I present in this article evidence of apiru 
constituting a fully organized professional mercenary army under their own 
officer corps, with many family members serving side by side. 

I dedicate this article to my teacher, friend and fellow sports enthusiast, 
Erie Leichty, whose enthusiasm for reading texts was passed on to me, his 
grateful student. Opening a museum drawer, perusing the tablets, and spying 
an undiscovered treasure is a wonderful experience. 

Such little treasures are YBC 1 1032 and YBC 12073, two Old Babylonian 
lists of soldiers under the command of General (GAL.MAR.TU) Warad-Sin 
who, in YBC 12073, are designated as apiru ( l " me *a-pi-ru-u). 1 This is the 
only cuneiform text to date with the orthography a-Bl-ru-u, rather than ha- 
Bl-ru. 2 Moreover, except for YBC 12073, only in Nuzi documents is a final 
length -u (i.e., ha-Ql-ru-u) indicated. 3 

The scribe, when totalling the soldiers listed on YBC 12073, writes: 

62 x<imiA a-pi-ru-u 62 apiru 

NIG.SU IR- d EN.ZU GAL.MAR.TU the responsibility of General Warad-Sin. 

This total includes Warad-Sin — the general was an apiru. 

YBC 11032 also is a detailed roster of the army of General Warad-Sin, 
but on this tablet there is no notation that they were apiru. 

The differences between the two tablets are substantial, clearly indicating 
two different scribes (and perhaps two different locations): 

1 I thank Benjamin R. Foster, curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection, for permission to 
publish YBC 12073 and YBC 1 1032 and Ulla Kasten, associate curator of the Yale Babylonian 
Collection, for her assistance in my obtaining photographs of the texts. I express my thanks 
to Benjamin Foster, Marcel Sigrist, Eckart Frahm, Jack Sasson, and Gary Rendsburg for their 
insightful suggestions and comments. And I take this opportunity to thank Bill Hallo, who 
served as curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection for over thirty years, for the privilege of 
being allowed to "rummage" through the tablet room drawers during his tenure in search of 

2 There are two attestations of a cuneiform orthography a-bu-ur-ra from El-Amarna (see 
J. Bottero, "Habiru," RIA 4 14-27, nos. 204 and 205). The Ugaritic script writes the designation 
as 'pr and the Egyptian as 'pr(.w). 

3 For a list of occurrences (and orthographies) of the terms ha-Bl-ru and SA.GAZ, see 
J. Bottero, "Habiru," RIA 4 14-27. 


MarkE. Cohen 

(1) shape and size: YBC 12073 is elongated (15 cm x 6.5 cm), resembling the 
shape and style of many Old Babylonian tablets from Larsa. YBC 1 1032 
is less elongated (16. 5 cm x 8. 5 cm), thicker and heavier, with much larger 

(2) format: YBC 12073 contains a name with patronym on the main entry 
lines. YBC 1 1032 contains only the name, no patronym; this shorter entry 
allowed the scribe to format the tablet with two columns on each side. 

(3) Some variations in spelling of the same individual's name occur: 

YBC 12073: YBC 11032: 

Ra-sa-nu Ra-sa-nu-um 

Ip-qa-tum Ip-qa-tum 

d EN.ZU-li-ta-la-al/ldl d EN.ZU -li-ta-lal 


d EN.ZU-i-qi-sa-am d EN.ZU -i-qi-sa 

DTNGIR-su-ib-ni-su DINGlR-su-ib-ni 

U-si-i-na-pu-us-qi U-si-i- <na- >pu-us-qi 

(4) The summary lines use different formulae, as well as different systems 
for writing numerics. 

YBC 12073: 62 ^^a-pi-ru-u 


YBC 1 1032: 1 SU 1 ERIN.MES 


The other differences between the two tablets are less style than content 

(5) In YBC 12073 Milki-li'el is the only officer in his unit and bears the 
enigmatic title written NE. The individual designated UG-ni-sa is a 
regular soldier reporting to him. The other two units each have an UGULA 
and a NU.BANDA. In YBC 11032 UG-ni-sa has been promoted to 
NU.BANDA under Milki-li'el, whose title is now UGULA. YBC 12073 
is dated to month 9 (no year specified) and YBC 11032 to month 8 
(no year specified). Thus, unless UG-ni-sa was demoted rather than 
promoted, YBC 12073 is the older text by at least eleven months. 

(6) The list of soldiers is almost identical, in almost the identical order. 
YBC 1 1032 lists 61 soldiers and YBC 12073 62 soldiers. 

The names and patronyms of the soldiers (ERIN) are standard Babylonian or 
Amorite — quite unlike the habiru names listed in the prism of King Tunip- 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

Tessup of Tikunani. 4 However, the orthography a-pi-ru-ii surely refers to 
the peoples otherwise designated as ha-Q\-ru(-u) (or '"SA.GAZ). There is 
another Old Babylonian habiru-list (MLC 1346) that, like ours, meticulously 
lists a patronym after each individual's name, and, like ours, totals the 
individuals with the note that they are habiru: "8 ^SA.GAZ.MES." 5 In 
addition, there are lists of habiru-soldiers from Alalakh. 6 So understanding 
our names to be another list of habiru-soldiers seems warranted. 7 

YBC 12073 may originate in the Larsa area, based upon the physical 
similarity of the tablet with many Larsa texts. Unfortunately we cannot 
determine whether the differences between YBC 12073 and YBC 11032 
should be attributed to variations in scribal practice within one city or to 
variation in scribal notation in two different locations. If the latter, then this 
would suggest that this small, compact army of apiru may have served as 
mercenaries, who hired themselves out to various rulers and cities. 

The men are divided into three units of size 15 (YBC 11032 lists 14), 
30, and 17, which raises a question as to why such small units would need 
both a NU.BANDA and an UGULA. Not only were there six (YBC 12073) 
or seven (YBC 1 1032) officers over just 55 men, but the highest officer over 
this small contingent was a general. This seems to indicate that this unit of 
62 soldiers served as an independent army, small, but with the hierarchy of 
a standard army, again suggesting mercenary activity. 

Another interesting feature of the texts is the rather large number of 
relatives serving together. Obviously, in any list of names there can be 
unrelated individuals whose fathers share the same name. Yet, in our text, 
the uniqueness of the patronym Kananum strongly suggests that, at least in 
this instance, the sons bearing the same patronym are brothers. There is then 
probably one, but perhaps as many as five pairs of brothers in our text. There 
are eleven or twelve likely relatives out of only 62 men (almost 20%): 

1. General Warad-Sin and Buriya, sons of Kananum. Possibly Liwwirum 
(1. 33) is the son of our General Warad-Sin. 

2. \JG-ni-sa and Selebum are both listed as sons of Nur-Ishara but not one 
directly after the other. 

3. Samas-rabi and Warad-Ninsubur, sons of Apil-ilisu, are listed next to 
each other. 

4 M. Salvini, The Habiru Prism of King Tunip-Tessup of Tikunani (Rome: Istituto Editoriali e 
Poligrafici Internazionali, 1996). 

5 MLC 1346, published by both J.J. Finkelstein, "An Old Babylonian SA.GAZ List," in 
CRRAI 4 (1954) 177-80 and M. Greenberg, The Hab/piru (AOS 39; New Haven: American 
Oriental Society, 1955) 19, contains eight names, totalled as: 8 W SA.GAZ.MES. 

6 Greenberg, The Hab/piru 20-2. 

7 For more recent discussion of the habiru issue, see N. P. Lemche, "Habiru, Hapiru," ABD 3 


MarkE. Cohen 

4. Ipqatum and Sin-iddinam (listed next to each other) are sons of Sin- 
isme'anni, who may be the same Sin-isme'anni who is the NU.BANDA 
of the same unit. 

5. UGULA Sin-litalal, the son of Namram-sarur, may be the brother of a 
soldier serving under him, Buriya, the son of Namram-sarur. 

A cogent argument favoring these men as being brothers, rather than unre- 
lated individuals whose fathers happen to share a name, is that, aside from 
General Warad-Sin and Buriya, 8 each pair serves in the same unit. 9 The prob- 
ability that, distributed among three units of variable size, eight unrelated 
men, consisting of four pairs, each pair sharing a patronym, were assigned 
either randomly or on some basis independent of patronym resulting in each 
pair sharing a patronym being assigned to the same unit is just 1 : 8 1 (or 
1.2% probability). 10 Thus, probability statistics support the contention that 
these men were brothers. 

Our two texts indicate that these apiru were a well-ordered group of 
62 men, most with perfectly proper Babylonian or Amorite names with 
Babylonian or Amorite patronyms, and includes one of their own who 
achieved the highest possible military rank (GAL.MAR.TU) in society, as 
well as others in positions of authority (NU.BANDA and UGULA). These 
men apparently constituted a totally separate military unit, which included 
top-ranking officers, from general on down. That the two tablets could be from 
two different locations and that the structure of this sixty-two-man fighting 
force is self-contained i.e., it has its own complement of officers, indicate 
that these men most likely constituted a mercenary army that subscribed to 
army protocols — they were not simply a group of refugees or migrants hiring 
themselves out to fight; they were professionals. The group's size is another 
indication that they were an independent fighting force. It seems unlikely 
that any regular military establishment would create an army unit headed by 
a general with just 62 men. That so small a group of men would have so 
many officers suggests that the structure was formed from within the group, 
not imposed from without as part of a regular army organization. 

8 In the case of General Warad-Sin and Buriya, obviously, the general could not actually serve 
in any one unit; rather, as the final summary line indicates, he was in charge of all three units. 
For the sake of the integrity of the overall count, Warad-Sin was counted in the first unit 
following his name in both texts. 

9 It is understandable that relatives, in particular brothers, would want to serve in the same unit 
and thus be available to help each other in time of distress. On the U.S.S. Arizona, which was 
sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, there were "23 sets of brothers, and a father and 
his son" (George F. Will, The Washington Post, September 8, 2002). 

10 Given three units of variable size, the odds of the two men with the same patronym being 
in the same unit by chance or some reason independent of patronym is 1 : 3 (or 1/3 of the 
time). For this event to occur for all four pairs of patronym-sharing individuals, the probability 
is(l/3) 4 =l/81 = 1.2%. 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

The function of the tablets is unclear. Since the two tablets are so different, 
in particular, one with and one without patronyms, along with the fact that 
a scribe would be constantly needed to make revisions, it is unlikely that 
these tablets were carried and maintained by Warad-Sin's army Perhaps 
these tablets were written and stored by those who hired the army, to be 
used for the administrative processes of payroll and supply. It is interesting 
that the order of the names in the two lists is almost identical. Warad-Sin's 
army may have maintained an oral roll-call, recited (perhaps by an officer 
or by the soldiers themselves, each shouting out his name in established 
roll-call order) whenever the need arose for the names of the soldiers to be 

It is not entirely clear why scribes needed to indicate that those listed 
were apiru. Presumably this entitled them to pay, supplies, or conditions that 
differed from the non-apiru soldiers. However, YBC 11032 clearly shows 
that there were scribes listing apiru who did not deem it necessary to indicate 
that the men were apiru. Quite possibly, then, we have other tablets containing 
lists of apiru on which there is no indication of their apiru-std&us, tablets that, 
unfortunately, we have no way of identifying. 

In conclusion, although a meaning "emigre," "refugee," or the like is 
clearly warranted in some archives, based on our two texts and the very 
high preponderance of texts in which the term (h)apiru occurs in a military 
context, the term apiru in some periods and in some locations assuredly 
denoted professional mercenaries. The continuing influx and shifting of 
peoples as well as the constant political realignments during the close of 
the third millennium and the first half of the second millennium must 
have resulted in the displacement from the land of large segments of the 
population. It would have been natural for many of these displaced or newly 
unemployed peoples to seek employment by banding together and offering 
themselves as mercenaries. Living outside the control of city administrations, 
they married, had children, and developed into independent communities of 
mercenary families. Such a mercenary community could provide the power 
base needed by a man with ambition, such as Idrimi, who claims to have lived 
with the apiru before seizing the kingship of Alalakh. 11 A somewhat similar 
situation is described in 1 Samuel, wherein the future-king David leads a 
band of professional mercenaries who would ultimately help him secure a 

Being armed and usually outside governmental control, an army of 
professional mercenaries would be a force not only to be respected but 
feared and, when large enough, capable of producing havoc, as occurs in the 

11 See M. Dietrich and O. Loretz, "Die Inschrift der Statue des Konigs Idrimi von Alalah," UF 


MarkE. Cohen 

Levant in the Amarna Age. That professional mercenary armies existed is 
documented in the Tell Leilan archive, in which habbatu — not (h)apiru — is 
used to denote professional mercenaries. 12 

Over the course of so many centuries, professional mercenary armies 
were assuredly defeated many times. In some instances, the defeated mer- 
cenaries may have found new employment by working for the victor. How- 
ever, other times, when deemed too dangerous to be allowed to remain 
intact, mercenary communities may have been forcibly broken up — the 
men and women shipped off to do agricultural, construction or menial 
work, or were sold as slaves, or perhaps just forced to scatter and seek 
employment on an individual basis. This may explain some of the ref- 
erences to apiru in which we see individuals assuming low-status posi- 

Lastly, the writing a-BI-ru-u in YBC 12073 injects a new factor to be 
considered when analyzing the etymology of Akkadian hapiru, Ugaritic 
'pr, and Egyptian 'pr(.w). The Akkadian verb aparu meets the linguistic 
requirements for a root from which (h)apiru could derive. The verb aparu 
occurs with a prima /'/, a prima Phi (CAD A/2 s.v. aparu 2 [including at 
Mari]), and an echo of /7 (CAD A/2 s.v. aparu lbl', Id), which accords 
with the forms of the term hapiru beginning with PI and /p/ in Ugaritic 
and Egyptian, and /h/ or — as our text now shows — /'/ in Akkadian. Hebrew 
'aper, a cognate of Akkadian aparu, denotes a scarf or wrap (1 Kgs 20:38- 
41): "Then the prophet, disguised by an 'aper over his eyes, went and waited 
for the king by the road. . . . Quickly he removed the 'aper from his eyes and 
the king recognized him." However, a derivation from aparu and its Semitic 
cognates with, perhaps, a meaning "bandaged ones," which might allude 
to the apiru wearing face wraps to protect themselves from the elements, 
seems somewhat strained or forced. Thus, despite the additional information 
provided by our text, we are probably still lacking a likely candidate for the 
word from which hapiru is derived. 

YBC 12073 (Figs. 1-9) 

(Some lacunae have been filled in on the basis of YBC 1 1032.) 


1 GAL.MAR.TU IR- d EN.ZU DUMU Ka-na-nu-um 

2 UGULA Ma-nu-um DUMU dEN.ZU-e-n-is ! 

3 NUBANDA d EN.ZU-is-me-an-ni DUMU d UTU-ba-ni 

12 I thank Prof. J. Eidem for sharing this information with me. A complete discussion of the 
habbatu in the Tell Leilan archive will appear in his forthcoming volume on the Tell Leilan 
letters and treaties; cf. also J. Eidem, "Tell Qal'at al HadI again," NABU 1988/9. 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 



DUMU Ap-lum 


1 DXJMU-Est-tdr 

DUMU Za-ri-qum 


1 d EN.ZU-('-ii/w-«flm 

DUMU iR-«/-TO 


1 I-lu-ni 



1 A-ba-a 

DUMU IR-cft-c?! 



DUMU Sil-li- d Adad 


1 DUMU- d UTU 

DUMU I-bi- A Nin-subur 


1 Ip-qa-tum 

DUMU d EN.ZU-w-me-an-m 


1 d EN.ZXJ-i-din-nam 

DUMU tEN.ZU-is-me-an-ni 


1 Nu-ri-ya 

DUMU A-di-du-um 


1 d JiN.ZU-i-qi-sa-am 

DUMU A-bi-lum 


1 Ib-ni- d Uras 

DUMU[...- d EN.Z]U ? 


15 ERIN.MES Ma-nu-um 


UGULA d EN.ZU-//-ta-/a-a/ 

DUMU Nam-ra-am-sa-ru-ur 


NU.BANDA Ra-sa-nu 

DUMU d EN.ZU-ga-m;7 


1 A-hu-si-na 



1 E-ri-ba-am- d EN.ZU 

DUMU,4-p//- d EN.ZU 


1 d UTU-fa'-«anj-/-c?( 

DUMU E-le-lum 


1 Nu-ur-Kab-ta 

DUMU E-te-rum 


1 E-a-ra-bi 

DUMU Ha-am-me-a-nu-um 


1 Bu-ri-ya 

DUMU Ka-na-nu-um 


1 A-bu-ya-nu 

DUMU Nu-ur-i-li-su 


1 *UTXJ-ha-zi-ir 

DUMU E-a-na-si-ir 


1 Hu-zi-ra-nu 

DUMU Be-el-su-nu 


1 Ta-ri-bu-u[m] 

DUMU A-hi-sa-gi-is 


1 A-li-ba-ni-su 

DUMU 1-pi-iq-EsA-tdr 


1 d UTU-ra-W 

DUMU A-pil-i-li-su 


1 lR- d Nin-subur 

DUMU A-pil-l-li-[su] 


32 1 d EN.ZU-i-din-nam 

33 1 Li-wi-rum 

34 [1] Bu-ri-ya 


35 [1 Pi-lah- d Adad] 

36 1 A-wi-li-ya 

37 1 I-lu-ni 

38 1 ^4-fcM-wa-[gar] 

39 1 d Su-[bu-la-a-bu-um 

40 1 d UTU-g[a-m;7] 

41 l r xx n [...] 

42 1 I-tur-as-du 

43 1 Ku-na-nu-um 

44 1 DINGIR-™-/ft-w/-™ 

45 1 Ga-gi-ya 

DUMU Du-ba-ba-t[um] 
DUMU Nam-ra-am-sa-ru-ur 

DUMU IR-ft-ya 
[DUMU] x-x-nu-um 1 
DUMU ""x-x-x" 1 -^ 
DUMU] In-bu-sa 
DUMU Za-ri-qum 
DUMU Ad 1 -ri-nu-um 
DUMU &7-/;'- d MAR.TU 
DUMU Ib-na-tum 


MarkE. Cohen 


1 U-si-i-na-pu-us-qi 

DUMU 7?!-M- d UTU 




30 ERIN.MES d EN.ZU-//-ta- 

la I 


NE Mil-[k]i-li-el 

DUMU tZs-to-as-ni-DINGIR 


1 Se-le-bu-[um] 

DUMUA r w-wr-[ d U]TU 


1 lR- d Nin-su[bur 



1 & Tispak-na\. . . 

DUMU d EN.Z]U-na-wi-<ru->um 


1 XJG-ni-sa 

DUMU Nu-ur- A Is-ha-ra 


1 E-ri-sum-ma-tum 



1 Qi-is-l-li 

DUMU A-bu-wa-qar 


1 £-fe/-KA- d EN.ZU 



1 Hu-zu-mu-um 

DUMU ^- r yta/ n -DINGIR 


1 LU-<L4<fo«? 

DUMU DTNGlR-su-a-bu-su 


1 A-hu-la-ap- d EN. ZU 

DUMU Nu-ur-a-hi-su 


1 Se-le-bu-um 

DUMU Nu-ur- d Is-ha-ra 


1 Ad-nu-ra-bi 

DUMU Ri- r x'-a-su 


1 DINGIR-5M-/5-n[;-fw] 

DUMU A-hu-ta-bu 


1 [7m-.. . 

DUMU iyii-ip-pa-al-sa 


1 [IR-... 



1 [7«j-gw- d . . . 

DUMU...- d EN].ZU ? 


r 17 n ERIN.<MES> [M]z7-[£]i 



62 ^ mc:i a-pi-ru-u 



Left edge 


YBC 11032 (Figs. 10-11) 

Col. i 






UGULA Ma-nu-um 

NU.BANDA *EN.ZU-is-me-an-ni 

1 DUMU-TisVrar 


1 d EN.ZU-('-<f/«-«am 

1 I-lu-ni 

1 A-ba-a 


1 DUMU- d UTU 

1 Ip-qd-tum 

1 d EN.ZU-(-<i/«-«am 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 


1 d EN.ZU-i-qi-sa 


1 Ib-ni- d Uras 


14 ERIN.MES UGULA Ma-nu-m 


UGULA *EN.ZU-li-ta-lal 


NU.BANDA Ra-sd-nu-um 


[1] A-hu-si-na 


[1] E-ri-ba-am- d EN.ZU 


[1 d UTU]-ki-nam-i-di 



[1 j 

..] r x n 






1 IR- d [Mw-™i>«r] 


1 d EN.ZU- r f -[din-nam] 


1 Li-wi-[rum] 


1 Bu-ri-ya 


1 Pi-lah- A Adad 


1 A-wi-li-ya 


1 1-lu-ni 


1 A-bu-um-wa-qar 


1 d Su-bu-la-a-bu-um 


1 I-tur-as-du 


1 <*UTU-ga-m*7 


1 Ku-na-nu-um 


1 DES[GIR-™-/fe-w/ 


1 Ga-gi-ya 


1 U-si-i-<na->pu-us-qi 


1 Pir-hi-i-li-su 


30 ERIN.MES d EN.ZU-/;-ta-/a/ 


UGULA Mil-[k]i-li-el 




1 Se-le-b[u-um] 


1 d Tispak-na-[. . .] 











MarkE. Cohen 















1 DIN[GIR-w-i6-w"-SM] 






1 Im-gur- d [. . .] 




UGULA Mil-ki-li-el 





Col. iv 


In the comments below, it is not my intention to provide an exhaustive 
list of occurrences of the personal names in our text, merely one or more 
occurrences of some of the Amorite or more unusual names. I have tried, 
without success, to find other references to the soldiers listed in our text. 
Line numbering is according to YBC 12073. 

1. For the order of the military ranks at Mari and Babylon in the Old 
Babylonian period, see D. Charpin, "La hierarchie de l'armee babylonienne," 
s. v. Notes breves, MARI 5(1987) 662-3 . The army at Mari has been discussed 
at length in J. Sasson, The Military Establishments at Mari (Studia Pohl 3; 
Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1969) 56 n. 40. 

The GAL.MAR.TU at Mari has been discussed by Sasson, The Military 
Establishments at Mari 12 passim. For the Akkadian rendering of the term 
GAL.MAR.TU as rabi amurrim, see D. Charpin, "La hierarchie de l'armee 
babylonienne" 662-3. 

According to Sasson, at Mari the GAL.MAR.TU was appointed and paid 
by the king, and on occasion granted gifts. At times he might be under 
the control of the district governor. In our text he commands a very small 
military contingent, just 62 men. Sasson notes occasions at Mari when the 
GAL.MAR.TU commanded armies numbering from 200 to 3000 troops. 
There appear to be, however, occasions when the title did not necessarily 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

denote a military role, as in "the GAL.MAR.TU of the palace gate" (ARM 14 
1 10:7-8). There were multiple GAL.MAR.TUs in an army at one time. Note 
ARM 21 389 (a summary by rank) and ARM 22 42 (listing by name followed 
by summary by rank — unfortunately the names of the GAL.MAR.TUs are 
destroyed) for the count: 7 ^GAL.MAR.TU. 

For references to previous discussions on GAL.MAR.TU and discussion 
of the equation of the terms GAL.MAR.TU and GAL.dMAR.TU, see M. Stol, 
Studies in Old Babylonian History (Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het 
Nabije Oosten, 1976) 88-9. For references to specific GAL.MAR.TUs, see 
J. Sasson, The Military Establishments at Mari 12 and P. Abrahami, "A 
propos des generaux (gal mar-tu) de la Mesopotamie du Nord a l'epoque du 
regne de Zimri-Lim," NABU 1998/35. 

I have found no other instances of the personal name Ka-na-nu-um except 
for line 24 of our text, YBC 12073: Bu-ri-ya DUMU Ka-na-nu-um. Note 
the name Ka-(an-)na-a-ia (S. Dalley, C.B.F Walker, and ID. Hawkins, The 
Old Babylonian Tablets from Tell al-Rimah [London: The British School 
of Archaeology in Iraq, 1976] 230:7' and 232:6); Ka-an-na-a (D. Charpin 
and J.-M. Durand, "Relectures d'ARMT VII," MART 2 [1983] 91); Ka- 
an-na-ni (J. Eidem, The Shemshara Archives 2: The Administrative Texts 
[Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 1992] 137:8); 
and note the indices to ARM 23 and ARM 24 for multiple references to the 
name Ka-an-na-an. 

2. See Sasson, The Military Establishments at Mari 56 n. 40 for the military 
ranking of the NUBANDA, as well as CAD L s.v. laputtu for references in 
which the NUBANDA is listed before the UGULA. However, in our two 
texts, based on the order of lines 2-3 and 1 7-8 and the unit being summarized 
as under the UGULA, the UGULA would seem to be of higher rank than the 
NUBANDA in General Warad-Sin's army. 

3. Quite possibly this Sin-isme'anni, who serves as the NUBANDA of this 
unit, is the Sin-isme'anni in lines 11 and 12, who is the father of Ipqatum 
and Sin-iddinam, two soldiers assigned to the same unit. 

4. For several individuals with the name Mar- d Amurru, see YOS 12 45. 

8. The name A-ba-a may occur in YOS 12 no. 119:19. Perhaps IR-di-di is an 
orthography for Wardi-idi. 

13. The orthography A-di-du-um occurs in F.N.H. Al-Rawi and S. Dalley, 
Old Babylonian Texts from Private Houses at Abu Habbah, Ancient Sippir: 
Baghdad University Excavations (Edubba 7; London: Nabu Publications, 
2000) no. 109:20; the orthography A-di-dum, occurs in M.P Streck, Das 


MarkE. Cohen 

amurritische Onomastikon der altbabylonischen Zeit (AOAT 271/1; Minister: 
Ugarit-Verlag, 2000) 2 . 1 04. 

15. The name Ibni- d Uras occurs several times in YOS 13, a collection of 
Late Old Babylonian texts. Compare, in particular, with our name and partial 
patronymic, YOS 1 3 249:2: Ib-ni-^Uras DUMU A-wi-il-^EN.ZU. 

16. The term ERIN can denote a workforce as well as soldiers. However, 
the occurrence of the term GAL. MAR. TU (almost exclusively military), 13 
as well as both NUBANDA and UGULA (either of which can be assigned in 
either situation), indicates that ERIN in this instance connotes actual soldiers, 
not a simple workforce. 

17. Note that Sin-litalal is written with two orthographies on YBC 12073: 
-la-al (1. 17) and -lal (1. 48) and yet another orthography using -lal on 
YBC 11032. Our text enables us to read the seal impression on YOS 12 
no. 73: Ka-sd-ap- d EN.ZU DUMU d EN.ZU-/;'-to-/a/ IR d Nin-si 4 -an-na. The 
name utilizes the Gt-stem ofaldlu B, "May Sin boast/triumph!" 

18. Note that YBC 12073 has Ra-sa-nu, whereas YBC 1 1032 has Ra-sd-nu- 


22. Note YOS 13 16:8 and 36 seal B for Nu-ur- d Kab-ta. 

23. For Amorite names beginning with Hammi/u- ("people"), see R. Zadok, 
"On the Amorite Material from Mesopotamia," in Studies Hallo 320b. How- 
ever, I have been unable to find any names beginning with the orthography 

27. For this personal name, see AHw s.v. huziranum, "Schweinemann." 

29. The name Ali-banisu occurs also in YOS 12 nos. 325:7 and 536:34, as 
well as H. Weiss, "Tell Leilan and Shubat Enlil," MARI 4 (1985) 282 fig. 10. 

32. The name Du-ba-ba-tum occurs in Streck, Das amurritische Onomas- 
tikon 2 .104 and 4.7. 

33. Although the name Warad-Sm is very common in the Old Babylonian 
onomasticon, perhaps Liwwirum is the son of our General Warad-Sin, given 

13 For an exception see comment to line 1. 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

the seemingly large number of soldiers with relatives serving with them in 
the contingent (see comment to line 1). 

35. The name IR-ti-ya occurs in I. J. Gelb et a\.,Nuzi Personal Names (OIP 57; 
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1943) 172. 

43. In YBC 1 1032 the first sign of the name is clearly KU. In YBC 12073 
the first sign could be either MA or KU. The name Ma-na-nu-um is cited 
in J.-R. Kupper, Les nomades en Mesopotamie au temps des wis de Mari 
(Paris: Societe d'Edition "Les Belles Lettres," 1957) 214 n. 1. 

47. The significance of this line eludes me. These two unnamed soldiers are 
not part of the total unit count of 30. Perhaps it indicates that this unit was 
to be assigned two more, as yet unselected, men, who would increase unit 
strength to 32 men. However, unit strength was not increased in the presumed 
later text, YBC 1 1032. Perhaps, the addition of two soldiers may have been 
offset by the loss of two soldiers — note that we do not have all the names in 
this unit preserved on YBC 1 1032 and thus, we cannot know if this unit in 
YBC 1 1032 and in YBC 12073 matches man for man. 

49. For the name Mi-il-ki-li-el, see Streck, Das amurritische Onomastikon 
2.29 and 2.95; Mi-il-ki-DJNGJR 5.59, and Mi-il-ki-la-el 2.95 and 3.34. 

The sign NE presumably indicates Milki-li'el's rank in YBC 12073. 1 am 
not aware of any such military designation. Unlike the structure of the other 
two units in YBC 12073, Milki-li'el does not have an officer reporting to 
him. However, once he has a NUBANDA reporting to him (YBC 11032), 
he is listed as an UGULA. 

53 . The first sign of the name is clearly preserved in YBC 1 1 032. The first two 
left wedges seem to be horizontal, which indicates the sign UG rather than 
GIRL Note, however, that the Sumerian name Giri-ni-i-sa6 is attested in Old 
Babylonian documents, even in an Akkadianized form, such as Giri3-ni-i-sa 
(YOS 12 186: r. 11). 

54. The first sign of the patronym is clearly BI, excluding a reading Qur'-di- 
DINGIR (see YOS 13 68 for the name). 

57. For the personal name Huzzumum, see AHw s.v. huzzumufm). Note 
YOS 13 no. 19:4 Ap-kdl-i-li. ' 

59. The name A-hu-la-ap- d EN.ZU occurs also in Al-Rawi and Dalley, Abu 
Habbah 115:27." 


MarkE. Cohen 

Fig. 1. YBC 12073 obv. 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

Fig. 2. YBC 12073 obv. 1-16 


MarkE. Cohen 




Fig. 3. YBC 12073 obv. 16-31 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

Fig. 4. YBC 12073 lower edge 


MarkE. Cohen 



45 r* 




Fig. 5a. YBC 12073 rev. and right edge 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 





Fig. 6. YBC 12073 rev. 35-50 

MarkE. Cohen 



Fig. 7. YBC 12073 rev. 50-64 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

Fig. 8. YBC 12073 upper edge 


MarkE. Cohen 



Fig. 9. YBC 12073 left edge 


A Small Old Babylonian Army ofA-pi-ru-u 

Fig. 10. YBC 11032 obv. 


MarkE. Cohen 




Fig. 11. YBC 11032 rev. 



Barry L. Eichler 

The history of the development of the discipline of Assyriology in American 
institutions of higher learning 1 may be divided into three distinct periods: 
Beginnings, Between the Two World Wars, and the Post World War II Years. 
The aim of this article is twofold: to trace the growth of cuneiform studies 
at the University of Pennsylvania and its Museum of Archaeology and 
Anthropology within this broad periodic framework 2 and to highlight the 
contributions of my esteemed colleague, Erie Leichty, to Penn's cuneiform 
studies program. 

I. Beginnings at Penn 

By the middle of the 19th century, Assyriology was becoming an established 
discipline in Europe, due mainly to the pioneering activities of British and 
French scholars. 3 In the 1870s, leadership in Assyriological research passed 
to Germany, 4 when Friedrich Delitzsch created the first school of Assyriology 
at the University of Leipzig in 1874. The early growth of Assyriology in 

1 Carroll Wade Meade's Road to Babylon: Development ofU. S. Assyriology (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 
1974) presents a comprehensive outline of the growth of American Assyriology which may be 
read together with Philip J. King, Archaeology in the Mideast: A History of the American Schools 
of Oriental Research (Philadelphia: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1983). These 
may be supplemented in part by Bruce Kuklick's intellectual history, Puritans in Babylon: The 
Ancient Near East and American Intellectual Life, 1880-1 930 (Princeton: Princeton University 
Press, 1996). 

2 Although a history of cuneiform studies at the University of Pennsylvania has not been 
written, Cyrus H. Gordon has discussed the development of Semitic studies at Penn in his 
The Pennsylvania Tradition ofSemitics: A Century of Near Eastern and Biblical Studies at the 
University of Pennsylvania (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986). Two celebratory histories of the 
University Museum also have been written: one by Percy Chester Madeira, Men in Search of 
Man: The First Seventy-five Years of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania 
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1 964) and the other by Dilys Pegler Winegrad, 
Through Time, Across Continents: A Hundred Years of Archaeology and Anthropology at the 
University Museum (Philadelphia: University Museum, 1993). 

3 Credit for the decipherment of cuneiform is shared by the Irish scholar Edward Hincks, the 
Englishman Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, and the German-born French scholar, Jules Oppert. 
For the story of the decipherment of cuneiform and the history of early British and French 
archaeological explorations, see Samuel Noah Kramer, The Sumerians: Their History, Culture 
and Character (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963) 14-24. 

4 Meade, Road 16. 


Barry L. Eichler 

America was intimately connected to this German school, since Delitzsch 
trained almost all of the first-generation American Assyriologists. 5 

The formal teaching of Assyriology in America began in 1880 6 when 
Francis Brown, who had studied Assyrian under Eberhard Schrader in Berlin, 
introduced a course in the Assyrian language at the Union Theological 
Seminary in New York. Although Brown taught Assyrian and published a 
number of articles on Assyrian topics, the Hebrew Bible remained his primary 
area of interest. 7 Harvard was next to initiate the teaching of Assyrian in 1882 
with the appointment of David Gordon Lyon, often referred to as "the father 
of American Assyriology," 8 who had shortly before returned from Leipzig, 
where he earned his doctorate under Delitzsch. A year later, Johns Hopkins 
appointed a German scholar, Paul Haupt, who was already established in 
the field, as Professor of Semitic languages to teach courses in Akkadian 
and Sumerian. By the end of the 19th century, cuneiform studies had spread 
to approximately twenty American universities, colleges, and seminaries. 9 
However, by 1920, as a result of World War I and an ebbing of the general 
tide of enthusiasm, many of these institutions no longer offered courses in 

During this initial period, the University of Pennsylvania played a unique 
role in the development of Assyriology in the United States, mainly due to its 

5 Edgar James Banks (University of Chicago), Robert Francis Harper (University of Chicago), 
Paul Haupt (Johns Hopkins University), Hermann V Hilprecht (University of Pennsylvania), 
Morris Jastrow, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania), and David Gordon Lyon (Harvard) received 
their doctorates from Delitzsch in the 1870s and 1880s. John Punnett Peters (University of 
Pennsylvania) had also studied with Delitzsch, although he received his degree from William 
Dwight Whitney at Yale (Kuklick, Puritans 125). In Kuklick's view (Puritans 6) the field of 
ancient Near Eastern studies is just one example of the maturation of the American university 
and its connection to Germany. [Editors' note: see D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska in the present 
volume, 259 n. 2]. 

6 In America, the formal study of Assyriology was preceded by a period of popular interest 
in exotica, dating back to the 1830s. During that time reports of European excavations and 
progress on the decipherment of cuneiform generated excitement in the United States, and 
popular books on ancient Assyria and Babylonia were published in America (see Meade, Road 
17-27 for a detailed presentation). In the 1850s some Mesopotamian antiquities, including 
inscribed bricks and pottery, made their way to the American shores, mostly brought back by 
American missionaries working in the Near East. The American Oriental Society, founded in 
Boston in 1842, did much to promote a more scholarly interest in Assyriology, with papers 
on Assyriological topics being presented sporadically at its meetings during this period. Many 
of these American scholars had deep Judeo-Christian commitments and viewed the study of 
the ancient Near East as a means of securing biblical truths. One of the themes developed by 
Kuklick in his book is the secularization of intellectual life in America and the paradoxical role 
of ancient Near Eastern studies in this process of secularization (Kuklick, Puritans 19 ff.). 

7 Officially, Brown served as professor of biblical philology at Union. In one of his articles 
entitled "Assyriology: Its Use and Abuse in Old Testament Study," he warned theologians to 
accept the clear facts discovered by Assyriologists and not to distort them to fit corresponding 
biblical statements (Meade, Road 29). 

8 Meade, Road 30. 

9 Meade, Road 37^13. 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

four expeditions to Nippur, which marked the beginning of American field 
archaeology in the Near East. In the mid 1880s, Penn's Provost, William 
Pepper, created a Semitic languages program to strengthen the College 
vis-a-vis its professional schools. 10 The program was greatly enhanced by 
the appointment of Hermann Vollrath Hilprecht (1859-1925), a German 
scholar who received his doctorate from Delitzsch at Leipzig, as Professor 
of Assyriology. Hilprecht joined the Episcopal clergyman John Punnett 
Peters (1852-1921), who had been appointed Professor of Hebrew in the 
previous year. Peters, a graduate of Yale, had pursued post-doctoral studies 
with Delitzsch in Germany and before his appointment at Penn served as 
professor of Old Testament languages at the Episcopal Divinity School in 
Philadelphia. Having an avid interest in Assyriological studies, he delivered 
public lectures at Penn on the ancient civilization of Babylonia and devoted 
much energy to ensuring the realization of the first American exploration of 
ancient Mesopotamia. Toward that end Peters worked tirelessly with Edward 
White Clark of the prominent Philadelphia banking family to create the 
Babylonian Exploration Fund. In 1887, the Babylonian Exploration Fund and 
the University of Pennsylvania entered into a contractual agreement, whereby 
the finds from the excavations would become the property of the university, 
to be properly housed in an anticipated University Museum building. 11 

In 1888 organizational plans for the financial arrangements and staffing 
of the first American expedition to the ancient Near East were set in place. 
Peters headed the expedition, with Hilprecht second-in-command, and exca- 
vations officially began at Nippur on February 6, 1889. The first expedition, 
which recovered more than two thousand cuneiform tablets and hundreds 
of artifacts, was followed by three other expeditions in 1 890, 1 893-96, and 
1899-1 900. 12 Although not distinguished for their scientific field methodol- 
ogy, these expeditions nevertheless yielded almost thirty thousand cuneiform 
tablets, uncovered the large Ekur temple and ziqqurrat, and led the way to 
further American expeditions to the Near East. 

With Hilprecht away on the Nippur expedition in 1888-89, Morris Jas- 
trow Jr. (1861-1921) undertook the teaching of Hilprecht's two Akkadian 
courses. Jastrow, who completed his undergraduate studies at Penn, joined 

10 Kuklick, Puritans 27-8. 

1 ! For a history of the beginnings of the University Museum and a detailed study of the 

connection between its founding and the Nippur expeditions, see Richard L. Zettler, "The 

Excavations at Nippur, The University of Pennsylvania, and the University's Museum," in 

CRRAI 35 (1992) 325-36. 

12 In April 1900 Hilprecht also conducted a brief expedition at Fara, ancient Shuruppak and 

at Abu Hatab, ancient Kisurra (Meade, Road 63, 142). For a detailed account of Penn's four 

expeditions which were replete with danger, intrigue, and suspense, see Meade, Road 52-63, 

and Kuklick, Puritans 46-57, 67-77. For a glimpse into the tensions between the participants 

that were already apparent from the beginning of the expeditions, see Kuklick, Puritans 33 f, 



Barry L. Eichler 

Penn's teaching staff in 1885 upon completion of his graduate studies in 
Germany where he had received his doctorate in Semitic languages from 
Delitzsch. Two years after his return from Nippur, Peters resigned from Perm 
in 1893 to accept his father's position as rector of St. Michael's Church 
in Manhattan. 13 As a result of Jastrow's permanent appointment at Penn in 
1 892 as Professor of Semitic Languages, Assyriological offerings were in- 
creased to seven courses in the following academic year. 14 The university 
bulletins and catalogues continue to record substantial course offerings, with 
Sumerian being offered for the first time in 1898 by Hilprecht. Although 
Hilprecht never specialized in Sumerology, he encouraged some of his stu- 
dents and post-doctoral fellows to study the Sumerian cuneiform tablets in 
the University Museum collections. 15 Upon Jastrow's appointment as Uni- 
versity Librarian in 1898 and the subsequent reduction of his Assyriolog- 
ical course offerings, the University appointed Albert Tobias Clay (1866 
1925), a student of Hilprecht who had earned his Ph.D. degree at Penn, 
as a lecturer in Assyriology in 1899. 16 Penn's curriculum combined with 
Hilprecht's scholarly activities brought recognition to Penn as a prominent 
center of Assyriological studies. Having ingratiated himself with Ottoman 
officials in Constantinople by helping to oversee Western exploration and 
by cataloguing material for the Ottoman Museum, Hilprecht held a favored 
position with the Turks, which caused even the European Assyriological 
community to take special note of him and his work. Hilprecht also re- 
alized that Penn's reputation would depend on the reliable publication of 
scientific editions of its cuneiform tablets and for that purpose initiated and 
edited The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania series. 
The quality of his publications gave enduring prestige to the University. In 
recognition of Hilprecht's contribution to Penn, Edward W. Clark and his 
brother Clarence established the Clark Research Professorship of Assyriol- 
ogy in 1902, 17 the first endowed chair of Assyriology in the United States, 

13 See Kuklick's explanation for Peters' departure, Puritans 64-5. The bickering between 
Hilprecht and Peters foreshadowed the feud, known as the Hilprecht-Peters controversy, that 
would erupt between them at a later date. See below, n. 19. 

14 Catalogue of the University of Pennsylvania 1893-1894 (Philadelphia: University of Penn- 
sylvania, 1894) 202. 

15 The first decade of the twentieth century saw the beginning of the publications of Sumerian 
texts under Hilprecht's guidance in Philadelphia by the University of Pennsylvania Department 
of Archaeology: Hugo Radau, Sumerian Hymns and Prayers to the God 'Nin-ib' from the 
Temple Library of Nippur (BE 29/1; 1911), Sumerian Hymns and Prayers to the God Dumu-zi 
(BE 30/1 ; 1913); David W. Myhrman, Sumerian Administrative Documents Dated in the Reigns 
of the Second Dynasty of Ur from the Temple Archives of Nippur (BE 3/1; 1910). 

16 While a graduate student at Penn, Clay taught Hebrew during the academic years 1892-94 
(Gordon, Tradition 14). Upon receiving his doctorate from Hilprecht in 1894, he taught in the 
Lutheran Theological Seminary in Chicago until his return to Penn in 1899 (Meade, Road 71). 

17 Meade, Road 35 states that the chair was established in 1 886, but cf Madeira, Men in Search 
25 and Kuklick, Puritans 90. 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

with Hilprecht as its first incumbent. However, Hilprecht's insatiable desire 
for self-aggrandizement, his inability to get along with people, and his abso- 
lute domination of the cuneiform tablets and their publication 18 antagonized 
his colleagues, assistants, and students and led to the so-called "Peters- 
Hilprecht Controversy." 19 This hostile atmosphere eventually weakened the 
Penn program. In 1 9 1 0, Clay left Penn to accept the William M. Laffan Profes- 
sorship of Assyriology at Yale, 20 and the following year, Hilprecht resigned 
from Penn amid great animosity 21 This left only Jastrow, causing a tem- 
porary curtailment of the Assyriological course offerings. Penn at this time 
negotiated with Stephen Langdon, an American-born and -trained Assyriol- 
ogist with specialization in Sumerian, who held an appointment at Oxford. 
Langdon examined the Museum tablet collection, publishing many of the 
important Sumerian texts, but nevertheless decided to remain at Oxford. 22 
The Assyriology program eventually was strengthened with the appointment 
of Edward Chiera (1885-1933), who was born in Rome, and had earned a 
Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Crozer Theo- 
logical Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Upon completion of his doctoral 
studies at Penn in 1913 under Jastrow, he joined the faculty as an Instructor 
in Assyriology. Jastrow and Chiera handled the Assyriological offerings at 
Penn between 1913-20. With James A. Montgomery on leave in 1914-15 as 

18 Kuklick Puritans 124 ff. describes the deterioration of relationships among Hilprecht, Clay, 
Ranke, Myhrman, and Jastrow. Hilprecht even thwarted the Nippur expedition publications of 
his student, the archaeologist Clarence Fisher, who had served as an architect on the fourth 
expedition. The only associate at Penn who supported Hilprecht was his young German research 
assistant, Hugo Radau, who had received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1899 
and who edited the Hilprecht Anniversary Volume: Studies in Assyriology and Archaeology 
(Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1909). It is interesting to note that with the exception of Radau no 
scholar working in America contributed to the volume. Radau not only defended Hilprecht 
at the trial but also wrote to European scholars, denouncing the University's treatment of 
Hilprecht. This action incurred the anger of Penn's Provost Charles Harrison, costing Radau 
his career at Penn (Kuklick, Puritans 139, 168 f). 

19 For a full discussion of this controversy, see Meade, Road 72-6; Kuklick, Puritans 63, 123— 
40; Samuel Noah Kramer, In the World of the Sumer: An Autobiography (Detroit: Wayne State 
University Press, 1986) 141-2. For an interesting dimension of this controversy with personal 
correspondence and notes, see Eleanor Robson, "Guaranteed Genuine Originals: The Plimpton 
Collection and the Early History of Mathematical Assyriology," in Studies Walker 245-92. Cf. 
Gordon, Tradition 29-32 where he defends Hilprecht's statements as journalistic rather than 
scholarly pronouncements and explains that Peters contrived a case against Hilprecht because 
of professional jealously. Despite Hilprecht's having been acquitted of all charges (see the 
Court of Inquiries' report to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania [June 26, 1905] 
quoted in Meade, Road 75), hostility between Hilprecht and his colleagues continued to exist. 

20 For the warm relationship between Clay and the financier IP. Morgan, who created the 
Laffan Chair for him, see Kuklick, Puritans 107 f., 118, 178. William Laffan, a former editor 
of the New York Sun, had been one of Morgan's brokers for acquiring Near Eastern antiquities. 

21 For the events surrounding Hilprecht's resignation and departure, see Kuklick, Puritans 
137^40; and for a description of Hilprecht's animosity toward Clay and Jastrow, see Kuklick, 
Puritans 124ff. 

22 Kuklick, Puritans 161, 167. 


Barry L. Eichler 

Director of the American School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, Penn invited 
Arthur Ungnad of Berlin to offer courses in Bible, Aramaic, Syriac, and 
Assyriology 23 

II. Between the Two World Wars at Penn 

The second period in the growth of cuneiform studies in America began in 
1920, one year after the founding of The Oriental Institute of the University 
of Chicago. In 1921, the famous Egyptologist and founder of The Oriental 
Institute, James Henry Breasted inaugurated the Chicago Assyrian Dictio- 
nary project by naming Daniel David Luckenbill as its director. 24 During this 
second period American Assyriology came of age. With the rapid expansion 
of high quality research and publication, American universities began to be 
recognized as leading centers of Assyriological study, taking an important 
place beside their European counterparts. This period also marked the be- 
ginning of scientific field archaeology in the United States. Since careful 
scientific excavations of ancient sites required much more money, the prac- 
tical pooling of financial resources of individual institutions in the form of 
jointly sponsored expeditions became more prevalent. 

During this period, Penn continued to maintain a prominent position in 
Assyriological research, both in the areas of field archaeology and philology. 
Ever since Hilprecht's resignation in 191 1, 25 the director of the Museum, Dr. 
George Byron Gordon, had been actively seeking a scholar to take charge of 
the tablets and artifacts excavated at Nippur. Having failed to find a candidate 
in America and England 26 he offered the position to Leon Legrain (1878— 
1963), a Roman Catholic priest who had studied with Vincent J. Scheil 
at the Sorbonne. Legrain came to the University Museum in 1920, and 
subsequently became the permanent curator of the Babylonian Section of the 
University Museum and the second incumbent of the Clark Research Chair 
in Assyriology 27 At this time, the University Museum decided to sponsor 

23 Gordon, Tradition 2 1 . In the winter of the previous year, Ungnad visited Penn to study Old 
Babylonian cuneiform tablets in the University Museum dating from the period of Hammurapi, 
which resulted in the publication of Babylonian Letters of the Hammurapi Period (PBS 7; 

24 The field began to reap the benefits of this long-term project some 35 years later, when the 
first volume of the dictionary was published in 1956. Presently, 22 volumes of the CAD have 
been published and the dictionary project is finally near completion. See now also Erica Reiner, 
An Adventure of Great Dimension: The Launching of the Chigaco Assyrian Dictionary (TAPS 
92/3; Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2002). 

25 For the strained relationship between Hilprecht and George B. Gordon, see Kuklick, Puritans 

26 S.N. Kramer, "Leon Legrain," 4/0 21 (1966) 261. [Editors' note: see Clyde Curry Smith's 
article in the present volume 43 1 — 41.] 

27 Madeira, Men in Search 37; and Kramer, "Leon Legrain" 26 1 . During his twenty-eight year 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

new archaeological explorations in British-mandated Iraq in cooperation 
with the British Museum. In 1922, Charles Leonard Woolley was chosen to 
direct the joint expedition to excavate Ur, 28 while Legrain served as second- 
in-command and as an epigraphist during the 1924-26 seasons. 29 Another 
expedition associated with Penn personnel was that at Yorghan Tepe. In 1924 
Chiera, as annual professor at the American School of Oriental Research in 
Baghdad dug trial trenches at the site of ancient Nuzi. This initial campaign, 
which recovered over one thousand cuneiform tablets, was followed by two 
other campaigns. The third Nuzi campaign, from 1928-31, was sponsored 
jointly by Penn, Harvard and the Baghdad School. 30 

In 1921, Penn's Assyriological instruction suffered an initial setback due 
to the death of Jastrow, who for forty years had been a central, stabilizing 
force in Penn's Semitic languages curriculum. For the next two years after his 
passing, Chiera alone was responsible for the cuneiform course offerings. 
In 1923 Penn appointed the Canadian George Aaron Barton (1859-1942) 
as Professor of Semitic Languages. Barton, a former student of Lyon at 
Harvard had taught Assyriology at Bryn Mawr College for twelve years 
prior to his appointment at Penn. 31 Barton also had played an instrumental 
role in the creation of the Baghdad School of the American Schools of 
Oriental Research, serving as its founding director from 192 1-34. 32 Together 
with Chiera, Barton maintained the cuneiform studies program at Perm and 

curatorship, Legrain directed his efforts not only to the publication by the University Museum 
in Philadelphia of cuneiform tablets {Historical Fragments [PBS 13; 1922]; Royal Inscriptions 
and Fragments from Nippur and Babylon [PBS 15; 1926]) but to the publication of artifacts 
as well (The Culture of the Babylonians from their Seals [PBS 14; 1925]; Terra-Cottas from 
Nippur [PBS 16; 1925]). 

28 Woolley 's first association with the University Museum was in 1906, when he served as an 
assistant to David Randall Maclver during the Museum's expedition to Nubia (Madeira, Men 
in Search 29). 

29 Madeira, Men in Search 37; Kramer, "Leon Legrain" 261. Cf. Winegrad, Through Time 8 
fig. 12. The joint British Museum-University Museum expedition to Ur continued for twelve 
seasons, ending in 1934 (Meade, Road 105-8). Legrain represented the University Museum 
in the apportionment of the finds (Madeira, Men in Search 37) and he published many of the 
tablets (Business Documents from the Third Dynasty ofUr [UET 3; 1947]) and seals (Archaic 
Seal Impressions [UE 3; 1936]; and Seal Cylinders [UE 10; 1951]). 

30 For a complete account of the expeditions, see F. R. S. Starr, Nuzi: Report on the Excavations 
at Yorgan Tepa near Kirkuk, Iraq, conducted by Harvard University in conjunction with the 
American Schools of Oriental Research and the University Museum of Philadelphia 1927—1931 
(2 vols.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1937, 1939). Cf. D.L. Stein, "Nuzi," 
OEANE 4 172; G. Wilhelm, "Nuzi. A. Philologisch," RIA 9 638-9; and D.L. Stein, "Nuzi. B. 
Archaologisch," RIA 9 639-47. 

31 While at Bryn Mawr, Barton had taken an active role as one of Hilprecht's leading critics 
(Kuklick, Puritans 136). 

32 For an account of the founding of the Baghdad branch of the American Schools of Oriental 
Research, see Meade, Road 131-3 and J. S. Cooper, "American School of Oriental Research in 
Baghdad," OEANE 1 92-3. 


Barry L. Eichler 

even expanded it by introducing the study of Hittite in 1924. 33 During 
this period, Chiera began an intense examination and analysis of the Nuzi 
texts, which he had excavated, laying the foundations for future research 
in Nuzi studies. 34 But having copied Sumerian texts while in Istanbul, 35 
Chiera also devoted much energy to the study of Sumerian literary texts 
in the University Museum. 36 When Chiera left Penn in 1928 37 to assume 
the directorship of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project at the Oriental 
Institute in Chicago, Barton continued the Semitic language offerings at Penn, 
including Akkadian. 38 He was aided in his Assyriological teaching with the 
appointment of Ephraim Avigdor Speiser (1902-65) as assistant professor 
of Semitics. Speiser was not a newcomer to Penn. He had received his MA. 
degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1923. Having completed his 
doctorate the following year at Dropsie College, he was appointed a Harrison 
Research Fellow in Semitics at Perm from 1924-26, working together with 
Chiera on the newly excavated Nuzi tablets. This scholarly collaboration, 
with Chiera copying the texts and Speiser translating them, resulted in 
the publication of two joint articles. 39 In 1926, Speiser spent two years 
as a Guggenheim Fellow in the Near East, where he also served as annual 
professor of the Baghdad School of American Schools of Oriental Research 
in 1926-27. During these two years, he participated in the second campaign 
at Nuzi and conducted archaeological surveys in the Kurdish and Turkoman 
areas of Iraq, resulting in preliminary excavations at Tepe Gawra. Two years 
later, in spring 1930, Speiser returned to the field to survey Tell Billa (in 
the vicinity of Tepe Gawra) under the auspices of Penn and the Baghdad 

33 For an assessment of Barton as teacher and scholar, see the remarks of his student, Gordon, 
Tradition 45-7. Cf. Kramer, World 21. 

34 His copies of the Nuzi tablets were published by the Baghdad School of the American 
Schools of Oriental Research as Joint Expedition with the Iraq Museum at Nuzi, 1-5 (1927, 
1930, 1931, 1934, 1934) and by Harvard University as Excavations at Nuzi 1 (HSS 5; 
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1929). 

35 These were published as Sumerian Religious Texts (Crozer Theological Seminary Babylo- 
nian Publications 1 ; Upland, Pa. : Crozer Theological Seminary, 1 924). 

36 See below, n. 46. 

37 Meade (Road 100), Kramer (World 47), and Kuklick (Puritans 170) date Chiera's departure 
from Penn to 1927. However, Cyrus Gordon who was a first-year graduate student in 1927-28, 
reports that Chiera was on campus in 1927, noting his departure before the start of the 1928-29 
academic year (Gordon, Tradition 37). 

38 Gordon ( Tradition 4 1 ) states that Legrain did not teach during his tenure at Penn. Cf. Meade, 
Road 1 22 who has Legrain teaching Assyriological courses at Penn with the departure of Chiera. 
According to the University of Pennsylvania Bulletins, Legrain is first listed as a faculty member 
in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1931 (University of Pennsylvania Bulletins, 
32: Announcements issued in 1931-32) as a member of the newly formed Oriental Studies 
Department. But no course offerings are ever listed as being taught by him throughout his tenure 
at the University Museum. The Clark Professorship, which he held, is a research professorship 
that does not obligate the incumbent to teach. 

39 "A New Factor in the History of the Ancient Near East," AASOR 6 (1926) 75-92 and 
"Selected 'Kirkuk' Documents," JAOS 47 (1927) 36-60. 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

School. He returned again in 1931 and 1932 to direct the excavations at 
Tepe Gawra, under the auspices of Penn, the Baghdad School, and Dropsie 
College. 40 During the 1930-31 academic year, Cyrus Herzl Gordon (1908 
2001), who had just attained his doctorate from Perm, served as an Instructor 
in Assyriology. 41 In 193 1 Speiser was promoted to full professor. At that time 
the study of ancient non- Western civilizations began to be more focused at 
the University of Pennsylvania. In a move to bring together faculty who were 
interested in the study of Oriental cultures, the Indologist Norman Brown 
and the East Asian scholar John Shryock joined with the Department of 
Semitic Languages and Archaeology to form the Department of Oriental 
Studies, under the chairmanship of Penn's leading Semitist and Biblicist, 
James A. Montgomery ( 1866-1 94 9). 42 In the following year, Barton retired 
and Speiser alone was responsible for maintaining Penn's cuneiform studies 
program. Speiser expanded the program by offering, on a regular basis, 
courses in Hittite, Hurrian, and Elamite, as well as Akkadian and Sumerian. 
The motif associated with Speiser's research during this time was the recovery 
of Hurrian civilization, which began with his discovery of the Hurrians as an 
ethnic factor in the ancient Near East and culminated in his pioneering work 
on the Hurrian language. 43 

Ten years elapsed after Barton's retirement before the University made 
another appointment in Assyriology. In 1943, Samuel Noah Kramer (1897- 
1990) was named associate curator of the University Museum's Babylonian 
Section tablet collection. He, too, was not a newcomer to Penn. Kramer 
had been Speiser's first Ph.D. candidate, earning his doctorate in 1929. 44 
The following year, he traveled to Iraq as an American Council of Learned 
Societies Fellow, participating in archaeological activities at Tell Billa and 
Fara. In 1932, after returning from Iraq, he accepted a post at The Oriental 
Institute as a member of its Assyrian Dictionary Staff. In Chicago, Chiera 

40 For a more detailed account of Speiser's archaeological activities, see S. N. Kramer, "Ephraim 
Avigdor Speiser," Year Book of the American Philosophical Society (1965) 206-9. Speiser's 
academic connections with Dropsie College have recently been documented by Mark S. Smith, 
Untold Stories: The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century (Peabody, Mass.: 
Hendrickson Publishers, 2001) 23^4. Speiser began to teach at Dropsie in the early 1930s 
and continued to offer courses there until 1941. He thus joined a number of his departmental 
colleagues who taught at two institutions, including both Montgomery and Barton, who also 
taught at the Philadelphia Divinity School. 

41 Gordon, Tradition 39. For Gordon's account of the nature of the personal relationship 
between Speiser and him, see Gordon, Tradition 70-2. For a more balanced presentation, see 
Smith, Untold Stories 28-32, 80 with n. 218. 

42 Gordon, Tradition 40 ff. James A. Montgomery had joined the Penn faculty in 1909 and 
led the department for over twenty years after the death of Jastrow in 1921 (Gordon, Tradition 

43 Introduction to Hurrian (AASOR 20; New Haven: American Schools of Oriental Research, 

44 Kramer's thesis on the verb in Nuzi Akkadian was accepted and approved toward the end 
of the year (Kramer, World 21) and hence the misdating by Gordon in Tradition 61. 


Barry L. Eichler 

and Poebel, both of whom had received their doctoral training at Penn, 45 
introduced Kramer to the study of Sumerian literature. 46 Kramer left Chicago 
in 1936 47 and spent the next two years as a Guggenheim Fellow (1937-39) 
in Istanbul, where he copied Sumerian literary tablets in the Museum of the 
Ancient Orient. Upon his return to the United States, Kramer came to the 
University Museum to study, copy, and publish the Sumerian literary tablets 
and fragments from Nippur. The American Philosophical Society funded 
Kramer's research for four years until his appointment as associate curator 
of the Babylonian Section, serving under Legrain. 

III. Post World War II to the Present at Penn 

While Europe was recovering from the devastation of the war, Assyriology 
continued to develop in the United States. In 1946, The Oriental Institute 
resumed preparations for publishing the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary with 
I.J. Gelb as editor-in-chief. He was succeeded by A. Leo Oppenheim in 
1955, with the first volume of the dictionary appearing the following year. 
The publication of the first volume of the Journal of Cuneiform Studies in 
1947 under the auspices of the Baghdad School of the American Schools 
of Oriental Research marked the debut of an American periodical devoted 
exclusively to Assyriological research. The continued growth of American 
Assyriology during the post war years was marked by an increase in the 
number of foreign students from Europe and the Middle East who came to the 
States for graduate training and post-doctoral research in cuneiform studies. 

45 In 1905, Arno Poebel came to Penn from Germany as a Harrison Research Fellow to 
pursue doctoral studies with Hilprecht. After completing his doctorate which was published 
by the University Museum as Babylonian Legal and Business Documents from the Time of the 
First Dynasty of Babylon, Chiefly from Nippur (BE 6/2; 1909), he went back to Germany in 
1907. Poebel returned to the United States as a teaching fellow at Johns Hopkins University 
in 1911, and left again for Germany in 1914 to assume a professorship at the University of 
Rostock. During his years at Johns Hopkins, Poebel once again resumed his study of the 
cuneiform tablets at the University Museum. The published results of his years of study at Penn 
include: Historical and Grammatical Texts (PBS 5; 1914); Historical Texts (PBS 4/1; 1914); 
and Grammatical Texts (PBS 6/1; 1914). In 1930, Chiera invited Poebel to join him as his 
associate on the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Project. For the impact of Poebel on Kramer's 
scholarly career, see Kramer, World 36^-1. 

46 When Chiera left for Chicago, he had taken with him his excellent and elegant hand copies 
of 270 tablets and fragments in the University Museum, which he had studied while at Penn 
between 1924-27, to ready for publication by The Oriental Institute. Upon Chiera 's sudden 
death in 1933 (Gordon, Tradition 24 n. 7), Kramer took upon himself the task of preparing 
these texts for final publication. These texts appeared in 1934 as Sumerian Epics and Myths 
(OIP 15) and as Sumerian Texts of Varied Contents (OIP 16). For an appreciation of Chiera 's 
contribution to Sumerology, see Kramer, World 42 ff. 

47 For the circumstances under which he left, see Kramer, World 50-2. Kramer did retain an 
official affiliation with The Oriental Institute as an unpaid research associate until 1942. 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

This third period of American Assyriology also mirrored the overall growth 
of American colleges and universities and their liberal arts curricula. 48 These 
years are marked by a notable expansion and growth in cuneiform studies 
through the 1960s, leveling off in the 1980s, and then entering a period of 
retrenchment which began in the 1990s and continues to the present. 

Penn's Oriental Studies Department and its cuneiform studies program 
were well situated to benefit from the post-war interest in non- Western 
languages, literatures, and cultures. 49 The Department was then the largest 
and one of the most prestigious departments in the Graduate School of Arts 
and Sciences. Its faculty was primarily devoted to the training of young 
scholars and the pursuit of scholarly research. 50 Penn enjoyed continued 
expansion of its cuneiform course offerings and graduate student population. 
Graduate student data indicate that Penn, as of 2002, had awarded 53 
doctoral degrees in cuneiform studies since the inception of its Assyriology 
program in the 1880s. Of these, only fifteen degrees were granted prior 
to 1945, 51 while thirty-eight doctoral degrees in cuneiform studies were 

48 With the GI bill guaranteeing returning soldiers the right to a college education, the numbers 
of students attending universities increased dramatically. The war had sparked interest in the 
Middle East and in other neglected areas of study which were deemed vital to US national 
interests. Beginning in the 1 960s, the federal government promoted the establishment of Centers 
to encourage and coordinate the study of neglected foreign languages and cultures and to award 
National Education Act Fellowships to students pursuing such studies. Increased interest in 
ancient Near Eastern studies in general and Mesopotamian studies in particular contributed to 
the opening of related positions in departments of Middle Eastern languages and literatures, 
history, religion, anthropology, and archaeology. 

49 It is interesting to note that the war years had a profound influence upon the future direction of 
Penn's Oriental Studies Department. A number of its faculty suddenly found themselves thrust 
into a world of wartime services, which broadened their horizons and gave them new insights 
into the significance of their studies. Brown became chief of the India desk in the newly created 
Office of Strategic Services. He was soon joined in Washington by Speiser, who became head 
of the Near East Section. Bodde, after serving briefly with the OSS, joined the Office of War 
Information and helped direct a large Army Special Training Program in Chinese. The effect 
of this wartime experience after the war was to add new dimensions to the Oriental Studies 
program. In contrast with most Oriental Studies programs in other universities, which focused 
upon the ancient and medieval periods of oriental civilizations, the Department spearheaded 
the development of modern Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Penn. Furthermore, within the 
department itself, modern studies became an integral part of the overall study of ancient and 
medieval non- Western civilizations. 

50 In 1973, the graduate faculty merged with the undergraduate faculty into the Faculty of Arts 
and Sciences, which resulted in the department's greater focus on undergraduate education. 

51 Ph.D. dissertations, University of Pennsylvania: E.T. Kretschmann, "Babylonian Slave 
Trade of the Time of King Nabu-na'id from the Texts published by Strassmaier, and in 
Addition the Interpretation of Four Cuneiform Texts Published for the First Time" (1892); 
T.W. Kretschmann, "Babylonian Deeds of Gift Dated in the Reigns of Nebuchadrezzar, 
Nabonidos and Cyrus, as Published by Strassmaier, and Transliterated, Translated and Com- 
mented Upon" (1 892); A. T Clay, "Legal and Commercial Transactions Dated in the Assyrian, 
Neo-Babylonian and Persian Periods, Chiefly from Nippur" ( 1 894); T. H. P. Sailer, "Babylonian 
Contract Tablets" (1895); S. Koppe, "A Discussion of the Business Documents of Murashu 
Sons, Bankers and Brokers of Nippur" (1898); W Dippel, "Phonetically-Written Proper Names: 
A Discussion of the Laws Underlying Proper Names in Babylonian and Assyrian Contract 


Barry L. Eichler 

awarded in the post- World War II period. 52 Another seven Ph.D. dissertations 
that relied heavily on cuneiform primary sources were written in biblical 
studies. 53 This unprecedented growth of its graduate student body is directly 
attributable to developments within the Department of Oriental Studies. 

Tablets" (1899); W.J. Hinke, "New Boundary Stone of Nebuchadrezzar I from Nippur" (1906); 
A. M. Poebel, "Babylonian Legal and Business Documents from the First Dynasty of Babylon, 
Chiefly from Nippur" (1909); E. Chiera, "Legal and Administrative Documents from Nippur, 
Chiefly from the Dynasties of Isin and Larsa" (1914); S.N. Kramer, "The Verb in the Kirkuk 
Tablets" (1931); M. Berkooz, "The Nuzi Dialect of Akkadian: Orthography and Phonology" 
(1937); D. Cross, "Movable Property in the Nuzi Documents" (1937); F.R. Steele, "Nuzi Real 
Estate Transactions" (1942); A. A. MacRae, "Semitic Personal Names from Nuzi" (1943); 
P.M. Purves, "Non-Semitic Personal Names from Nuzi" (1943). 

52 Ph.D. dissertations, University of Pennsylvania: J. J. Finkelstein, "Cuneiform Texts from 
Tell Billa" (1953); M. Greenberg, "The Hab/piru" (1954); E.I. Gordon, "Sumerian Proverbs 
and their Cultural Significance" (1955); A.E. Draffkorn, "Hurrians and Human at Alalah: an 
Ethno-Linguistic Analysis" (1959); A. Shaffer, "Sumerian Sources of Tablet XII of the Epic 
of Gilgamesh" (1963); A.J. Skaist, "Studies in Ancient Mesopotamian Family Law Pertaining 
to Marriage and Divorce" (1963); FA. Ali "Sumerian Letters: Two Collections from the 
Old Babylonian Schools" (1964); B.L. Eichler, "Nuzi Personal ditenniitu Transactions and 
Their Mesopotamian Analogues" (1967); J. Klein, "Shulgi D: A Neo-Sumerian Royal Hymn" 
(1968); D.D. Reisman, "Two Neo-Sumerian Royal Hymns" (1969); C. A. Benito, "'Enki and 
Ninmah' and 'Enki and the World Order'" (1969); A.-H. al-Fouadi, "Enki's Journey to Nippur: 
The Journey of the Gods" (1969); R. C. McNeil, "The 'Messenger Texts' of the Third Ur 
Dynasty" (1970); M.E. Cohen, "An Analysis of the Balag-Compositions to the God Enlil 
Copied in Babylon During the Seleucid Period" (1972); IS. Paradise, "Nuzi Inheritance 
Practices" (1972); S. Cohen, "Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta" (1973); D. Loding, "A Craft 
Archive from Ur" ( 1 974); C. F. Myer, "The Use of Aromatics in Ancient Mesopotamia" ( 1 975); 
A. Feigenbaum-Berlin, "Enmerkar and Ensuhkeshdanna: A Study in Sumerian Narrative 
Poetry" (1976); C. Hamlin, "Cuneiform Archives as Data: Reliability of the Mari Archive 
for Agricultural Reconstruction" (1976); M.P. Maidman, "A Socio-Economic Analysis of a 
Nuzi Family Archive" (1976); S.M. Moren, "The Omen Series summa alu: A Preliminary 
Investigation" (1978); M. T. Roth, "Scholastic Tradition and Mesopotamian Law: A Study of 
FLP 1287, a Prism in the Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia" (1979); R. Falkowitz, 
"The Sumerian Rhetoric Collections" (1980); M.D. Pack, "The Administrative Structure of 
the Palace at Mari (ca. 1800-1750 BC)" (1981); M. Malul, "Studies in Legal Symbolic Acts in 
Mesopotamian Law" (1983); M.G Hall, "A Study of the Sumerian Moon-God, Nanna/Suen" 
(1985); P. D. Gerardi, "Assurbanipal's Elamite Campaigns: A Literary and Political Study" 
(1987); L. B. Stuff, "The Nur-Sin Archive: Private Entrepreneurship in Babylon (603-507 
BC)" (1987); C.E. Suter, "Gudea's Temple Building: a Comparison of Written and Pictorial 
Accounts" (1995); J. Cross Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun-god and the Determination of 
Destiny in Ancient Mesopotamia" (2002). In the post- World War II period, a number of 
students majoring in cuneiform studies received their Ph.D. degrees from the Ancient History 
graduate group. These included E. R. Jewell, "The Archaeology and History of Western 
Anatolia during the Second Millennium B.C." (1974); G. Oiler, "The Autobiography of Idrimi" 
(1977); J. F. Robertson, "Redistributive Economies in Ancient Mesopotamian Society: A Case 
Study from Isin-Larsa Period Nippur" (1981); B.N. Porter, "Symbols of Power: Figurative 
Aspects of Esarhaddon's Babylonian Policy (681-669 BC)" (1987); T.J. Schneider, "A New 
Analysis of the Royal Annals of Shalmaneser III" (1991); L.B. Bregstein, "Seal Use in Fifth 
Century BC Nippur, Iraq: A Study of Seal Selection and Sealing Practices in the Murashu 
Archive" (1993); M. W. Waters, "A Survey of Neo-Elamite History" (1997); and A. Hattori, 
"Texts and Impressions: A Holistic Approach to Ur III Cuneiform Tablets from the University 
of Pennsylvania Expeditions to Nippur" (2002). 

53 Ph.D. dissertations, University of Pennsylvania: Y. Muffs, "Studies in the Aramaic Legal 
Papyri from Elephantine" (1964); S. Paul, "The Book of the Covenant, its Literary Setting and 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

The department's fully integrated programs in ancient Near Eastern civiliza- 
tions, which included Assyriology, Egyptology, and biblical studies in its 
ancient Near Eastern context attracted students to study at Penn. The De- 
partment's interdisciplinary focus and its cooperative relationship with other 
related fields, such as linguistics, religious studies, anthropology, and ancient 
history, encouraged students from other disciplines to enroll in cuneiform 
course offerings. 

Upon the retirement of Legrain in 1948, Kramer was appointed curator 
of the tablet collection and the Clark Research Professor of Assyriology. 
He continued to focus on the recovery of Sumerian literature, using the 
University Museum's rich and varied Nippur collection as the core area of 
research. His research also necessitated periodic trips to other museum tablet 
collections throughout the world in search of new tablets, fragments, and 
joins. 54 In conjunction with these ongoing research activities, Kramer began 
to publish more synthesized, popular studies on the Sumerians, emphasizing 
their great contributions to world culture. 55 Thanks to Kramer, the Sumerians 
almost became a "household word" and Penn became a leader in the field of 
Sumerology. In 1948, Francis Rue Steele, who earned his doctorate at Penn in 
1942, was appointed as an assistant professor of Assyriology. He assisted in 
the teaching of cuneiform languages and remained on the faculty until 1953. 
In 1958, Kramer invited Miguel Civil, a talented Spanish cuneiformist who 
had studied in France, to come to the University Museum as a research 
assistant to help him in publishing newly discovered Sumerian literary 
compositions. 56 During his stay at Perm, Civil reconstructed seven Sumerian 
disputations from several hundred tablets and fragments, and began to lay 
the groundwork for his indispensable and widely circulated catalogue index 
of Sumerian literature. He left Perm in 1962 to assume a post in Sumerology 
at The Oriental Institute of Chicago. 

During this period Speiser continued to offer courses in Akkadian, Hittite, 
and Hurrian. However, in the last decade of his life, he again turned to 

Extra-Biblical Background" (1965); M. Cogan, "Imperialism and Religion: Assyria, Judah and 
Israel in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries BC" (1971); R. Sonsino, "Motive Clauses in the 
Biblical Legal Corpora in Light of Biblical and Extra-Biblical Literature" (1975); E. Curtis, 
"Man as the Image of God in Genesis in the Light of Ancient Near Eastern Parallels" (1984); 
D. Glatt, "Chronological Displacement in Biblical and Related Literatures" (1991); N. Fox, 
"Officials and Their Roles in the State — Organization of the Israelite Monarchy" (1998). 

54 The story of Kramer's recovery of Sumerian myths, epics, hymns, and wisdom literature as 
well as his visits to European museums, including the Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Orient 
and the Hilprecht Collection of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, and his sojourn in 
Russia, are all recounted in his autobiography, World 53-134, 144-81. 

55 Among these books are From the Tablets of Sumer: Twenty-five Firsts in Man s Recorded 
History (Indian Hills, Colo.: Falcon's Wing Press, 1956); History Begins at Sumer (Garden 
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959); The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character (Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1963); Cradle of Civilization (New York: Time, Inc., 1967). 

56 See Civil's personal note in the foreword of Kramer, World 10. 


Barry L. Eichler 

Semitic philology and biblical scholarship. 57 He was an active member of 
the Jewish Publication Society's translation committee, which was preparing 
a new Torah translation. He also wrote a commentary on Genesis for the 
Anchor Bible Series in which he emphasized the Mesopotamian background 
of the book and the Hurrian influences allegedly reflected in the socio-legal 
customs of the Patriarchs. Speiser's combined interests in Semitics, Bible, 
and Assyriology, which represented a continuous Penn tradition that began 
with Peters, Hilprecht, and Jastrow, attracted to cuneiform studies a sizable 
group of graduate students with strong backgrounds in Bible and Judaica. 58 
His leadership role in establishing at Penn a government-sponsored Middle 
East Center that grants government fellowships for language and area study 
also helped to attract excellent students. While still vigorous and productive, 
Speiser became ill in 1961 and died four years later. 

In the three years following Speiser's death, a number of appointments 
in Assyriology were made. In 1965, I was asked to join the faculty as an 
instructor in Akkadian. At the time, I was a senior graduate student at 
Penn who was also employed by Kramer as a research assistant in the 
Museum. In 1966, Ake W. Sjoberg, a noted Swedish cuneiformist, joined 
the faculty with the understanding that he would eventually succeed Kramer 
upon his retirement. Sjoberg, while pursuing his graduate studies at the 
Royal University of Uppsala in Semitics, had studied between 1953-58 for 
eight semesters with the Sumerologist Adam Falkenstein at the University of 
Heidelberg. He received his doctoral degree from Uppsala in 1960. In 1963, 
after having taught Hebrew at the Royal University of Uppsala, Sjoberg came 
to Chicago's Oriental Institute and served there as professor of Sumerology 
until his appointment at Penn. In 1967, Penn appointed James D. Muhly as 
a lecturer in ancient Near Eastern history and promoted him to assistant 
professor in 1969, upon completing his graduate studies at Yale. Finally, 
in 1968, Erie V Leichty, who had studied with A. Leo Oppenheim at 
The Oriental Institute, came to Penn from the University of Minnesota 
as professor of Assyriology with overall responsibility for the Akkadian 
program; I was also appointed assistant professor in Assyriology. In the 
same year, Kramer retired and Sjoberg became the fourth incumbent of the 
Clark Research Professorship at the University Museum. 

57 Speiser's first scholarly contribution in this field was his Dropsie College Ph.D. dissertation, 
"The Pronunciation of Hebrew Based Chiefly on the Transliterations in the Hexapla" (1924). 
He maintained an avid interest in Semitics and Bible throughout his career and toward the end 
of his life published more extensively in this area. 

58 These included J. J. Finkelstein (1953), M. Greenberg (1954), C. Brichto (1962), A. Shaffer 
(1963), A. Skaist (1963), Y. Muffs (1964), and S. Paul (1965), as well as a younger group of 
students who did not complete their doctoral dissertations with him because of his untimely 
death, which included B. Eichler (1967), J. Klein (1968), L. Levine (1969), J. Paradise (1972), 
S. Cohen (1973), and A. Feigenbaum-Berlin (1976). 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

The transition from the Speiser-Kramer years to the Sjoberg-Leichty- 
Eichler-Muhly years was now complete, with the four newly appointed 
cuneiformists at Penn representing four important schools of Assyriological 
research — the Heidelberg, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Yale traditions. Sj6- 
berg, Leichty, and I also received curatorial appointments in the Babylonian 
Section of the Museum, while Muhly, with interests in the history and 
archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean in the Bronze and Iron Ages, 
served as chair of the Ancient History graduate group. He served in this 
post for many years (1979-87 and 1990-94), playing a formative role in 
the development of its programs. Muhly also enriched the cuneiform studies 
program with his occasional teaching of Hittite and the El-Amarna letters. 

During these years, Leichty specialized in first millennium Mesopotamia, 
offering courses in historical, literary, religious, economic, and scientific 
texts. His major research interests focused on omenology, divination, and 
Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions. I specialized in second millennium Mesopo- 
tamia, with major research focus on ancient Near Eastern law, biblical studies 
in its ancient Near Eastern context, and Sumerian literature, offering courses 
in Old Babylonian and peripheral dialects of Akkadian. Although Sjoberg 
occasionally taught Akkadian literature, he devoted himself almost entirely 
to Sumerological research and the teaching of Sumerian. Like Kramer, he 
devoted much energy to the recovery of Sumerian literature, publishing 
Sumerian school compositions, divine hymns, and temple hymns. 59 However, 
Sjoberg's most important contribution to Penn's research program and to 
world Sumerology was in the area of Sumerian lexicography, with the creation 
of the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project. Building upon the work of 
the previous generation of Sumerologists, most notably Falkenstein, Kramer, 
and Jacobsen, and in cooperation with his fellow Sumerologists in America 
and abroad, Sjoberg began to collect and create authoritative editions of 
Sumerian literary compositions with the help of a cadre of research assistants 
and graduate students. These editions served as the basis of his highly 
accurate and meticulously typed file card collection, eventually numbering 
over 400,000 entries, which formed a concordance of Sumerian words. The 
first volume of the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary appeared in 1 984. With 
this publication, Sjoberg's project, which has gained international support 
and recognition, once again propelled Penn's cuneiform program into the 
forefront of Sumerian research. The project employed a considerable number 
of young Sumerologists, who enriched the cuneiform studies program by their 
formal and informal teaching. 60 Most notable among these were Hermann 

59 For a bibliographic listing of his publications until 1988, see the bibliography compiled by 
Jane Heimerdinger, who for many years served as Kramer and Sjoberg's secretarial research 
assistant at the Museum, in Studies Sjoberg 593-5. 

60 In 1976, the Sumerian Dictionary Project staff consisted of Professor Ake Sjoberg, 


Barry L. Eichler 

F. Behrens (1944-1996) from Germany 61 and Steve Tinney, who were to 
play important roles in Penn's cuneiform studies program. Behrens joined 
the Sumerian Dictionary project in 1981 as a Research Associate. He shared 
Sjoberg's passion for Sumerian lexicography and eventually became assistant 
director of the project. In 1991, Tinney, a British Assyriologist who received 
his M. A. degree from the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Cambridge and his 
doctorate from the University of Michigan, joined the Sumerian Dictionary 
Project as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant. With Sjoberg's retirement in 
1996, Tinney was appointed assistant professor of Sumerology and assistant 
curator of the Museum's tablet collection, and Behrens was given the post 
of Director of the Sumerian Dictionary Project. Unfortunately, Behrens' 
sudden and untimely death in summer 1996 did not allow the fruition of this 
arrangement. Tinney assumed responsibility for the Sumerian Dictionary 
Project, and Leichty became the fifth incumbent of the Clark Research Chair 
in Assyriology. 

With regard to archaeological expeditions in the Near East during this 
third period of American Assyriology, Penn has shared the same fate as 
other American institutions in its dependency upon the international political 
climate. The University Museum resumed excavations at Nippur from 1948 
to 1952, in a joint expedition with The Oriental Institute of the University of 
Chicago. 62 The University Museum's Near Eastern Section then focused 
its attention on conducting excavations in Iran. 63 However, as political 

Dr. Darlene Loding, and Dr. Stephen J. Lieberman. Lieberman left to accept a Guggenheim 
Fellowship in 1 979 and was replaced by Dr. Piotr Michalowski, who subsequently left to accept 
an endowed chair at the University of Michigan. Other members of the staff over the years 
included Dr. Margaret Green, Dr. Jacob Klein, Dr. Antoine Cavigneaux, Dr. Niek Veldhuis, 
Dr. Wu Yuhong, Dr. Tonia Sharlach. Dr. Philip Jones, who joined the project full-time in 1 997, 
and Dr. Fumi Karahashi, who has a part-time position, are presently staffing the project under 
the direction of Professor Steve Tinney. 

61 Hermann F. Behrens, a Roman Catholic priest, pursued studies in theology (M.A., 1970) 
and Assyriology (Ph.D., 1977) at the University of Freiburg/Breisgau. From 1979-81 he was a 
research assistant in the Orientalisches Seminar at the University of Freiburg, where he taught 
Sumerian, Akkadian, and Near Eastern archaeology. His major publications include: Enlil 
unci Ninlil. Ein sumerischer Mythos aus Nippur (Studia Pohl, Series Maior 8; Rome: Biblical 
Institute Press, 1978); Glossar zu den altsumerischen Bau- unci Weihinschriften (FAOS 6; co- 
authored with Horst Steible; Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1983); Die Ninegalla-Hymne. 
Die Wohnungnahme Inannas in Nippur in altbabylonischer Zeit (FAOS 21; Stuttgart: Franz 
Steiner Verlag, 1998). 

62 Texts found during the third season (November 1951 -March 1952) were published by Jane 
W. Heimerdinger in Sumerian Literary Fragments from Nippur (OPSNKF 4; Philadelphia: 
The University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1979). The Oriental Institute continued to excavate 
Nippur in conjunction with the American Schools of Oriental Research in Baghdad. 

63 Tepe Hissar, in northeastern Iran, was the site of the University Museum's first Iranian 
expedition, conducted in 193 1-32, under the direction of Erich F. Schmidt in conjunction with 
the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology. 
Major excavations in the post- World War II period, beginning in 1956, took place at Hasanlu in 
northwestern Iran, under the direction of Robert H. Dyson, Jr., in collaboration with the Iranian 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

conditions prevented further expeditions to Iran and Iraq, attention was then 
turned to sites in Syria. 64 

Leichty s Contributions to Cuneiform Studies at Penn 

With Leichty's retirement in 2002, an important chapter in the history of 
Penn's cuneiform studies program has come to an end. 65 In paying tribute 
to our honoree, it is worth reflecting upon his career at Penn in order to 
appreciate his unique and manifold contributions to the cuneiform studies 
program during his thirty-five year tenure. 

Studying with Speiser and Kramer in the early 1960s, one sensed a 
dichotomy between the Akkadian program, centered in the Oriental Studies 
department and the Sumerian program, housed in the University Museum. 66 
The appointments of Sjoberg, Leichty, and me heralded a new sense of unity 
within the cuneiform program at Penn, which allowed for fuller integration 
of its rich Assyriological resources. This unity was based not only upon a 
common academic vision of Assyriological training and research, but also 
upon cordial feelings of mutual respect and personal liking which developed 
among the three of us as we worked together over the next three decades. 
Leichty, who was the more practical and experienced in the ways of academia, 
took the lead in setting an agenda for this new phase of Assyriology at the 

Archaeology Service, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the University of Michigan, and the 
American Institute of Iranian Studies. In 1971, excavations were begun at Tall-i Malyan under 
the direction of William M. Sumner, in collaboration with the American Institute of Iranian 
Studies. For more detailed information, see Expedition 13 (1971) 72 and Winegrad, Through 

64 Since 1989, the University Museum has excavated at Tell es-Sweyhat in northern Syria under 
the direction of Richard L. Zettler. Through 1991, the excavations were a joint endeavor with 
Thomas Holland of The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, who had originally 
excavated the site for three seasons in 1973-75 as part of the international salvage project 
undertaken in connection with the construction of a hydro-electric dam at Tabqa. The University 
Museum continued to excavate the site in 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000, and 2001. For a summary 
of the finds, see Michael D. Danti and Richard L. Zettler, "Excavating an Enigma: The Latest 
Discoveries from Tell es-Sweyhat," Expedition 44 (2002) 36^45. 

65 In 2002, Tinney was promoted to associate professor and, upon Leichty's retirement, he 
became the sixth incumbent of the Clark Research Chair in Assyriology. 

66 Speiser, as chairman of the department, exerted a great influence upon the graduate students 
from course selection to dissertation topics. It was expected of students to take at least one year 
of Sumerian with Kramer and one was allowed to take another year with Kramer's permission. 
A student could gain access to tablets only if one were invited to work with Kramer on a 
Sumerian project. To be sure, Speiser and Kramer were very different in their personalities, 
attitudes, and demeanors and each ruled his own separate and independent domain at Penn. I 
have heard it said that there were certain tensions between them, but if they did exist, we as 
students were completely unaware of any hostility or even dislike. Both men were scholars and 
gentlemen who appreciated each other's scholarship. Kramer's obituary for Speiser in AfO 21 
(1966) 262 indicates a fine appreciation of Speiser's contributions to Assyriology and a deep 
respect for Speiser the man. 


Barry L. Eichler 

University. The agenda focused upon four separate yet interrelated, areas 
of concern: the curriculum, the tablet collection, support of research and 


No longer were the Sumerian and Akkadian programs viewed as separate 
entities. A new and intensive cuneiform studies curriculum for graduate 
students was developed and implemented, allowing for a clear sequencing 
of courses in both Akkadian and Sumerian. A less rigorous minor track 
in cuneiform studies was also developed for students majoring in Biblical 
Studies or Egyptology. Most importantly, every student now enrolled in the 
program would have open access to the treasures of the Tablet Room and 
would be able to gain first-hand, practical knowledge in reading cuneiform 
tablets. The physical relocation of the Babylonian Section of the Museum 
into the then-newly completed Educational Wing of the University Mu- 
seum also facilitated a greater graduate student presence within the Tablet 

Tablet Collection 

In anticipation of a broader utilization of the Museum's cuneiform tablet 
collection by graduate students and visiting scholars, Leichty initiated two 
important projects: conserving the nearly 30,000 tablets housed in the Baby- 
lonian Section of the Museum, and systematically cataloguing the collection. 
For the efficient cleaning and conserving of the tablets, Leichty with the help 
of the Museum created the Israel Stieffel Tablet Conservation Laboratory 
in the basement of the Museum. 67 Based on the work of C. A. Bateman of 
the British Museum 68 and Eric Parkinson at the University Museum, Leichty 
prepared a program for the conservation of the tablets and, under his able 
guidance, all the tablets were baked, cleaned, and renumbered. 69 Leichty's 
sense of responsibility to the field and his keen entrepreneurial spirit led to 
the contracting of conservation projects with other institutions in the area that 
housed cuneiform collections, such as Bryn Mawr College, the Free Library 

67 The laboratory was made possible by a legacy from the late Pennsylvania state senator, Israel 
Stieffel, whose interest in cuneiform studies stemmed from his acquaintance with Kramer. 

68 "The Treatment of Cuneiform Tablets in the British Museum," published in C. A. Bateman, 
VE. Crawford, G. F. Wales, and L. J. Majewski, Preservation and Reproduction of Clay Tablets 
and the Conservation of Wall Paintings (Colt Archaeological Institute Monograph Series 3; 
London: Bernard Quaritch, Ltd., 1966). 

69 For a more detailed description of the project written by involved graduate students, see 
A. Guinan, G. Oiler, and D. Ormsby, "Nippur Rebaked: The Conservation of Cuneiform 
Tablets," Expedition 18 (1976) 42-7. 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

of Philadelphia, the Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Walters Art 
Gallery in Baltimore. 

In conjunction with the conservation project, Leichty began to systemat- 
ically review Hilprecht 's handwritten catalogue of the holdings of the Tablet 
Room with the goal of publishing an updated catalog of the entire collec- 
tion. 70 Throughout the years, he has devoted as much time as possible to the 
catalog project, but as yet, it has not been completed. In the 1980s, Pamela 
Gerardi, then a graduate student, assisted him in the cataloging of the col- 
lection. This effort resulted in her publishing A Bibliography of the Tablet 
Collections of the University Museum,'- n which is a helpful reference work 
for scholars working with the Museum's tablets. 

Support of Research 

Drawing from his own experience in working on the Chicago Assyrian 
Dictionary Project as a research fellow (1960-63) at The Oriental Institute, 
Leichty was extremely supportive of Sjoberg's research agenda to publish the 
world's first comprehensive dictionary of the Sumerian language. In 1975, 
when the Tools Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities 
(NEH) announced the availability of funding for dictionaries, Leichty worked 
closely with Sjoberg to formulate a major grant application. Subsequently, 
when the NEH agreed to support the project, Leichty played a crucial role 
in the creation of a solid financial basis for the beginning of the project by 
helping to solicit generous funding from philanthropic foundations. 72 With 
his indispensable help, the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary (PSD) Project 
was officially born in 1975, and over the many years since its inception, he 
has been deeply involved as an unofficial administrator and as a dedicated 
advisor in every stage of its development. He was especially instrumental in 
establishing excellent relationships with the NEH officers with his candor, 
his willingness to listen, and his openness to new ideas and approaches. 
With his enthusiastic support of PSD as "one of the world's greatest projects 
in the Humanities," 73 he also helped propel the project from the narrow 
confines of cuneiform studies to the consciousness of the world at large. 

70 Early on in the project, Leichty discovered that a group of 120 fragments of Neo-Babylonian 
economic and legal tablets (CBS 192-311), which Professor Robert Francis Harper had 
purchased in 1 888 from the Baghdad antiquities dealer, Joseph Shemtob, were clever forgeries. 
For further details of Leichty's investigative prowess, see "A Remarkable Forger," Expedition 
12 (1970) 17-21. 

71 This volume appeared as OPBF 8 (Philadelphia: The University Museum, 1984). 

72 NEH funding was supplemented by a generous gift of matching funds from the William 
Penn Foundation, and subsequent support from the Phoebe W. Haas Trust, the University 
of Pennsylvania and its Museum, the American Schools of Oriental Research, the American 
Philosophical Society, the Institute of Semitic Studies, and the Kelly McLure Estate. 

73 "The Curators Write: The Sumerian Dictionary," Expedition 24 (1982) 48. 


Barry L. Eichler 

Working closely with Phoebe R. Resnick, the Public Relations officer of the 
Museum, 74 Leichty successfully publicized the work of the Tablet Room and 
the dictionary staff on five different occasions which were written up by the 
major wire services, resulting in world-wide publicity. 75 

Leichty 's generous efforts to facilitate the research objectives of other 
cuneiform scholars were not limited to the work of his colleagues in the 
Department. With the physical expansion of the Tablet Room in the new 
Academic Wing of the Museum, he seized the opportunity to assist the 
research of cuneiform scholars living in the Greater Philadelphia area. He 
invited David I. Owen, Maria del Ellis, and Stephen J. Lieberman, among 
others, to become Research Associates of the Babylonian Section of the 
University Museum. The presence of these scholars in the Tablet Room 
heightened the intellectual excitement of Assyriological research and created 
a stimulating environment for the benefit of students and faculty. The relaxed 
and happy atmosphere in the Tablet Room, which permeated all aspects of 
Penn's cuneiform program, was due in great measure to the personal warmth, 
caring concern, good nature, and humorous irreverence of both Leichty and 


Leichty has also served cuneiform studies at Penn and Assyriology at large 
by creating an active publication program. As editor of the Museum's journal, 
Expedition, from 1970-73, Leichty gained invaluable experience in scholarly 
publishing. In 1972, with the assistance of Maria del Ellis, Leichty assumed 
the editorship of the Journal of Cuneiform Studies and continued to serve 
as editor of the journal for seventeen years. Always frugal, financially 
responsible, and resourceful, Leichty experimented with the technological 
forerunners of desk-top publishing. Through his efforts, the journal was 
published by means of camera-ready copy, prepared with the use of a 
phototypesetter. During this period, Leichty founded the Babylonian Fund to 
create a series for books and monographs entitled Occasional Publications 
of the Babylonian Fund. In 1988, the Fund was renamed in honor of Kramer 

74 Even after she left the museum to found her own company, Resnick Communications, Inc., 
Resnick has continued to work with Leichty in bringing the Sumerian Dictionary Project to the 
attention of a wider audience. 

75 Penn's Sumerian Dictionary Project and the Tablet Room were showcased on radio and 
television, and were featured in diverse publications. These publications included Forbes, 
Science 84, Science Digest, Discover, US News and World Report, Biblical Archaeology 
Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, Chicago 
Tribune, Boston Globe, Der Spiegel, Scienza & Vita Nuova, Scandinavian Airlines Magazine, 
and ARAMCO World. The Dictionary Project even made the front page of the New York Times, 
where Sumerian was used as its Quotation of the Day (Wednesday, April 18, 1984). 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

as the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund. Since 1976, Leichty has served as the 
series' editor-in-chief, overseeing the publication of thirteen volumes. 76 

In addition to his intense involvement in the Museum's tablet collection, 
research activities, and publications, Leichty also managed to contribute en- 
ergetically to the administration of the Department of Oriental Studies 77 by 
serving as chairman of the Department in 1980-81 among other administra- 
tive duties. His most lasting service, however, was to the Near East Section 
of the Department, which he headed for almost thirty years. With a B.A. in 
Arabic and Islamic Studies and an M.A. in Islamic Art from the University 
of Michigan, Leichty was uniquely suited to lead the Near East Section, 
which oversaw the teaching of ancient, medieval, and modern Near Eastern 
languages, literatures, and cultures. He also served as Chair of the Ancient 
History Program from 1987-90. As a long standing, administrative faculty 
member of the School of Arts and Sciences, Leichty worked tirelessly for 
the expansion of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in ancillary disciplines. He 
warmly supported the appointments of Irene Winter and Holly Pittman in 
History of Art and the appointments of Richard Zettler and Bruce Routledge 
in Anthropology and the late James Sauer in Religious Studies. 

Noteworthy in these years, was the strong international flavor of Penn's 
Assyriological program, which was due to both Sjoberg's and Leichty's per- 
sonal connections with British, European, and Middle Eastern cuneiformists. 
Sjoberg's bond with many of the leading European Sumerologists was already 
forged during his student years in Heidelberg and was further strengthened 
during his summers abroad when he would return to Sweden. Leichty's con- 
tact with British and European Assyriologists was cultivated during his many 

76 Maria del Ellis, Agriculture and the State in Ancient Mesopotamia: An Introduction to the 
Problem of Land Tenure (OPBF 1; 1976, repr. 1990); A. Berlin, Enmerkar and Ensuhkesdana: 
A Sumerian Narrative Poem (OPBF 2; 1979); J. Heimerdinger, Sumerian Literary Fragments 
from Nippur (OPBF 4; 1979); V Donbaz and B.R. Foster, Sargonic Texts from Telloh in the 
Istanbul Archaeological Museums (OPBF 5; co-published as American Research Institute in 
Turkey Monographs 2; 1982);M. W. Stolper, Texts from Tall-i Malyan, 1 : Elamite Administrative 
Texts (OPBF 6; 1984); J. A. Brinkman, Prelude to Empire (OPBF 7; 1984); P. Gerardi, A 
Bibliography of the Tablet Collections of the University Museum (OPBF 8; 1984); E. Leichty, 
M. dej. Ellis, and P. Gerardi (eds.), A Scientific Humanist: Studies in Memory of Abraham 
Sachs (OPSNKF 9; 1988); M. Sigrist, Tablettes du Princeton Theological Seminary: Epoque 
d'Urlll (OPSNKF 10; 1990); H. Behrens, D. Loding, and M.T. Roth (eds.), DUME-E 2 -DUB- 
BA-A: Studies in Honor of Ike W. Sjoberg (OPSNKF 11; 1989); G. Selz, Untersuchungen zur 
Gotterwelt des altsumerischen Stadtstaates von Lagas (OPSNKF 13; 1995); M. del Ellis (ed.), 
Nippur at the Centennial: Papers Read at the 35 e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, 
Philadelphia, 1988 (OPSNKF 14; 1992); V A. Hurowitz, Inu Anum strum: Literary Structures 
in the Non-Juridical Sections of the Codex Hammurabi (OPSNKF 15; 1994); S. J. Tinney, The 
Nippur Lament: Royal Rhetoric and Divine Legitimation in the Reign of Isme-Dagan oflsin 
(1953-1935 B.C.) (OPSNKF 16; 1996); and S.M. Freedman, If a City is Set on a Height: the 
Akkadian Omen Series summa alu ina mele sakin (vol. 1; OPSNKF 17; 1998). 

77 In the fall of 1992, the name of the Department of Oriental Studies was changed to the 
Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. 


Barry L. Eichler 

summers spent in the Student Room of the Department of Western Asiatic 
Antiquities at the British Museum. Leichty's initial contact with the British 
Museum's tablet collections began in the summer of 1960, when Keeper 
R. D. Barnett suggested that he compile A Bibliography of the Kuyunjik 
Collection of the British Museum. In 1964, subsequent to the publication 
of the volume, Barnett proposed that he undertake the "Sippar" project as 
part of a series of catalogues under the overall coordinating editorship of 
C. B. F. Walker. For more than fifteen years, Leichty spent his summers in 
London, preparing a catalogue of the "Sippar" tablets, the large majority of 
which were excavated by Hormuzd Rassam at Abu Habbah (ancient Sip- 
par). In the course of the preparation of the catalogue, which was published 
in three volumes, 78 Leichty worked closely with I.L. Finkel, M.J. Geller, 
A. K. Grayson, D. A. Kennedy, F. Kocher, W. G. Lambert, C. B. F Walker, and 
others, including the Keepers R. D. Barnett, E. Sollberger, and T. C. Mitchell. 
In the Students Room, many acquaintances and friendships were developed 
due in large measure to Leichty's gregariousness and genuine interest in all 
aspects of Assyriological research. In Philadelphia, Sjoberg and Leichty re- 
ciprocated by opening the University Museum's tablet collection to a larger 
audience of cuneiformists. This resulted in a steady flow of visits by senior 
and junior scholars from around the world. 79 The presence of international 
scholars who offered lectures and seminars at Perm greatly enriched the 
academic program and added to the intellectual excitement of the student 
experience. The highlight of Penn's connection with the international com- 
munity of scholars took place in July 1988 at the University Museum, when 
Leichty invited the Recontre Assyriologique Internationale to hold its an- 
nual meeting in Philadelphia, marking the centennial anniversary of Penn's 

78 E. Leichty, Tablets from Sippar 1 (vol. 6 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British 
Museum; London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1986); E. Leichty and A. K. Grayson, Tablets 
from Sippar 2 (vol. 7 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum; London: 
Trustees of the British Museum, 1987); and E. Leichty, J.J. Finkelstein, and C.B.F. Walker, 
Tablets from Sippar 3 (vol. 8 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum; 
London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1988). 

79 Among the many visitors from abroad that come to mind are J. Asher-Greve (Switzer- 
land), B. Alster (Denmark), P. -A. Beaulieu (Canada), P. Bordreuil (France), R. Borger (Ger- 
many), E. Braun-Holzinger (Germany), A. Caubet (France), D. Charpin (France), G. Colbow 
(Germany), M. Cogan (Israel), F Cryer (Denmark), M. Dandamayev (Russia), V Donbaz 
(Turkey), D. O. Edzard (Germany), R. Englund (Germany), Y. Eph'al (Israel), I. Finkel (Eng- 
land), D. Frayne (Canada), M. Gates (Turkey), M.J. Geller (England), A. George (England), 
W. Horowitz (Israel), V A. Hurowitz (Israel), D. Kennedy (France), J. Klein (Israel), W. G. Lam- 
bert (England), B. Lafont (France), K. and G. Van Lerberghe (Belgium), A. Livingstone (Eng- 
land), J. Oelsner (Germany), S. Parpola (Finland), B. Pongratz-Leisten (Germany), E. Robson 
(England), L. Sassmannshausen (Germany), Y. Sefati (Israel), A. Shaffer (Israel), M. Sigrist 
(Israel), H. Steible (Germany), M. Stol (Netherlands), H. Tadmor (Israel), H. Vanstiphout 
(Netherlands), G. Visicato (Italy), K. Volk (Germany), H. Waetzoldt (Germany), A. West- 
enholz (Denmark), J. Westenholz (Israel), C. Wilcke (Germany), G. Wilhelm (Germany), 
M. Yokoyama (Japan), and R. Zadok (Israel). 


Cuneiform Studies at Perm: From Hilprecht to Leichty 

excavations at Nippur. The theme of the Rencontre was aspects of work 
on Nippur past or present and the delivered papers were published in the 
Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund. 80 

With Leichty's retirement in 2002, a very special period of Assyriological 
study at Penn is drawing to a close. Leichty remains active in the Tablet Room, 
offering informal tutorials in Akkadian texts to graduate students, supervising 
publication activities, and conducting his own research. His present labor of 
love, however, is the creation of a world-class Assyriological research library 
within the Tablet Room. Leichty donated his own impressive personal library 
of over 1200 volumes, as well as his important offprint collection to the 
Tablet Room, where it now forms the nucleus of the research library. This 
valuable research collection is a fitting legacy that serves as an embodiment 
of Leichty's manifold contributions to Assyriology at Penn. It is our fervent 
wish that Leichty continue to utilize his talents for the furtherance of the 
discipline in good health and good cheer for many more years to come. 

80 M. dej. Ellis (ed.), Nippur at the Centennial: Papers Read at the 35 e Rencontre Assyri- 
ologique Internationale, Philadelphia, 1988 (OPSNKF 14; 1992). Cf. highlights ofthe Museum 
celebration in Winegrad, Through Time 15. 



Richard S. Ellis 

The supernatural being known in Akkadian as the uridimmu 1 had a re- 
spectable career in the ancient Mesopotamian imagination. If the dubious 
Agum-kakrime inscription is genuine, 3 the mention of him (and it is him, as 
we shall see) is the earliest known. Otherwise, his origin was as one of the 
eleven monsters borne by Tiamat to help her in her fight against Marduk. 
Together with his siblings he was placed by the victorious god as a guard 
at the entrance to the underworld. 4 By Neo-Assyrian times he had become 
known as a being that could be called upon to guard houses and palaces. 

In modern times the understanding of the uridimmu among students of 
ancient Mesopotamia has seen some changes. The Akkadian name is of 
course a loan word from the Sumerian ur-idim, which on the face of it 
appears to mean "mad dog" or "wild dog." Indeed in HAR-ra = hubullu 
XIV 94-5 two entries are given for ur-idim: 

94 ur-idim = SU-mu (var. ur-idim-mu) 

95 ur-idim = kal-bu se-gu-ii "mad dog" 5 

Because of the normal meaning of Sumerian ur, and the Akkadian transla- 
tion as kalbu, it was naturally assumed that the uridimmu must have been 
at least partially canine in nature. Translations of the name include "Rag- 
ing Hound" 6 "Mad-Dog," 7 "ein mythischer Wildhund" 8 and (my personal 

1 Though I am a cat person myself, I am happy to offer my old friend Erie Leichty, a dog 
person, this attempt to return the uridimmu to his native allegiance. 

2 The question of whether the Akkadian loan-word from Sumerian ur-idim should be uridimmu 
or urdimmu has been recently discussed by Frans A. M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective 
Spirits: The Ritual Texts (CM 1; Groningen: Styx, 1992) and by Paul-Alain Beaulieu, "Lion- 
Man: uridimmu or urdimmu? ," NABU 1990/121. Since the problem is irrelevant for my present 
purpose, I hold by uridimmu. 

3 For a recent discussion of this text, see Tremper Longman III, Fictional Akkadian Autobi- 
ography: A Generic and Comparative Study (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1991) 83-91, 

4 En. el. i 141, v 75-6. 

5 B. Landsberger, The Fauna of Ancient Mesopotamia (MSL 8/2; Rome: Pontifical Biblical 
Institute, 1962) 17. 

6 L.W. King, The Seven Tablets of Creation: Or, The Babylonian and Assyrian Legends 
Concerning the Creation of the World and of Mankind (vol. 1; Luzac's Semitic Text and 
Translation Series 13; London: Luzac, 1902) 19 etc. 

7 E.A. Speiser in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ed. James 
B. Pritchard; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955) 62 etc. 

8 AHw s.v. uridimmu. 


Richard S. Ellis 

favorite) Langdon's "Gruesome Hound." 9 These translations, however, were 
not accompanied by any clear idea of how the ancient writers might have 
imagined the appearance of the creature. 

In the past ten or fifteen years, however, increased study of Assyrian texts 
that deal with the making of apotropaic figurines to be buried in houses 
and palaces has led to the identification of many named supernatural beings 
with specific types of images found in art. These images include clay figures 
found buried in Assyrian houses and palaces, reliefs on the walls of Assyrian 
palaces, as well as seals and other objects. In particular, the apotropaic clay 
figurines correspond particularly well with the texts that prescribed their 
making and use. In the major text dealing with such figures 10 the uridimmu 
is simply mentioned among other figures made of clay: 

186 2 NU URIDIM.MES "Two figures of uridimmus" u 

A similar text from Assur (KAR 298) gives a few details: 


47 [NU.MES UR.IDIM s]«EREN IM.KAL.LA lab-[su sa] [X, Y] na-su-u ina 

48 [DINGIR E lu ka-a-a-an] ina GAB-su-nu d LAMA E lu [dd-a-ri SAR-ar] 12 

47 Figures of uridimmu?, of cedar wood, coated with yellow paste, holding [?] 
on their arms 

48 you write: "May the house-god be always present!" On their left, "May the 
lamassu-spirit of the house be enduring!" 

A further clue to the appearance of the uridimmu may be seen in the Assyrian 
ritual for the substitute king: 

col. B 

10 2 ur-dim-me sa 8 lS SINIG sa az-qa-ru sa i ll e-ri-ni 

1 1 ina qa-ti-s[u-n]u na-su-u DV-us ina BAR.SIL GAB-su-nu ki-a-am 

12 si-i [lum-nu er]-ba du-muq E.GAL 13 

9 S. Langdon, The Babylonian Epic of Creation (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923) 89 etc. 

10 This is the text reconstructed by Wiggermann, Protective Spirits, from several Kuyunjik 
fragments and edited by him as Text I. 

n Wiggermann, Protective Spirits 14-5, Text I. 

12 Wiggermann, Protective Spirits 43, Text II. Wiggermann restored the name of the creature 
in line 47 because it was the only figure otherwise missing, and there was no other place for 
it. The beginning of the inscription in line 48 is restored from that on the Nimrud clay figurine 
mentioned below. 

13 Edited by W. G. Lambert, "A Part of the Ritual for the Substitute King," AfO 18 (1957-58) 


Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 

10-1 1 You make two uridimmus of tamarisk wood, holding crescents of cedar in 
their hands. On their left hip you write as follows: 
12 "Depart, evil! Enter, good of the palace!" 

It is confusing that in these three texts the figures are to be made, first of clay, 
then of cedar, and then of tamarisk. Fortunately this fact is of no importance 
here. More serious could be the disparity of the inscriptions, but considering 
that the ritual contexts are different, this need not disturb us too much here. 

We have three features, then, by which we might identify an image of 
the uridimmu: a presumed doggishness, though he has something that he can 
hold objects with; the inscription specified in KAR 298; and the "crescents" 
that he holds, at least in the substitute king ritual. For a long time the attempt 
at identification stumbled over the fact that scarcely any images of dog-like 
Mischwesen are known in Mesopotamian art. There is of course the famous 
set of five colored dogs found in Assurbanipal's North palace at Nineveh, 
but they clearly correspond to the figures referred to in KAR 298 simply as 
"dogs." 14 

The eventual solution to the problem came from an examination of 
some of the clay apotropaic figurines that were found in the 1950s in Fort 
Shalmaneser, Nimrud, by the British expedition. In 1983 Anthony Green 
published a description and photographs of ND 7901, a figurine found in 
debris in Room SE5. 15 The upper part is that of a bearded human being 
wearing a conical headgear. The lower part seems to show the legs of an 
animal of some kind. The figure was molded, but had afterwards been altered 
by hand in some places. Green saw the feet as the talons of a bird. On the 
back a curved ridge had been worked in the wet clay. I had already been 
able to inspect this figure when I was in Baghdad in 1967-68; according to 
my notes I could see no details on the legs or feet. However, I thought that 
the curved ridge on the back looked like a tail, suggesting that it might be a 
scorpion-man, an opinion also expressed by Green. 16 In addition, however, 
there is an inscription on the back of both arms. Various editions of the 
inscription have been made, but it is essentially identical to that attributed 
to the uridimmu in KAR 298, above. When I saw the figure and still when 


14 Bruno Meissner, "Apotropaische Hunde," OLZ 25 (1922)201 ft.; Art and Empire: Treasures 
from Assyria in the British Museum (ed. John E. Curtis and Julian E. Reade; New York: The 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995) 116-7. 

15 Anthony Green, "Neo-Assyrian Apotropaic Figures: Figurines, Rituals and Monumental 
Art, with special reference to the figures from the excavations of the British School of 
Archaeology in Iraq at Nimrud," Iraq 45 (1983) 92-3, pis. 13c, 14b. Earlier publications, 
without photographs but with a reading of the inscription, were made by David Oates, "Fort 
Shalmaneser — an Interim Report," Iraq 21 (1959) 112-3 and M. E. L. Mallowan, Nimrud and 
Its Remains (vol. 2; London: Collins, 1966) 423^1, 644 n. 70. 

16 Green, "Neo-Assyrian Apotropaic Figures" 93. 


Richard S. Ellis 

Green published it, the gap in KAR 298 that covered the name of the image 
had not yet been filled in by Wiggermann's restoration. But if we accept 
that restoration, which I see no reason not to do, we now have a hope of 
identifying the uridimmu in other instances and other media. In 1985 Green 
referred to another Fort Shalmaneser figurine, ND 8186B, that shows the 
same molded form and the same secondarily-worked curving tail on the 
back. No inscription is preserved (Figs. 1-2). 17 

The concept of the uridimmu as having a curly tail and a human torso 
with animal legs led soon to a specific identification. In 1964 Julian Reade 
published a drawing of a now-lost slab from Assurbanipal's North Palace at 
Nineveh that depicts a creature whose upper part is human, with a beard and 
a horned god-hat, and whose lower part is that of an animal with paws like 
those of a dog or lion, and a curled tail. He holds in front of himself an upright 
pole ending above in a crescent or ring (Fig. 3). Reade identified the lower 
part as that of a lion, but made no suggestion as to name or identification. 18 In 
1979 Reade again referred to this drawing, suggesting that it might represent 
the urmahlilu, or lion-man, 19 a name now regarded as certainly designating 
the lion-centaur. 20 Since the publication of this drawing by Reade, it has been 
published in other places, and other drawings (only drawings, alas! of lost 
reliefs) of similar beings have been published as well. Another slab from 
the North Palace shows a creature identical to that mentioned except that he 
carries no pole, but simply holds his hands out in front on his chest. 21 If he 
had a pole, it would interfere with the tail of the upright mushussu who stands 
in front of him, on the same slab; perhaps that is why the pole is missing 
(Fig. 4). In the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh were found two 
slabs flanking a door, each of which showed the legs of a human(oid) winged 
figure in front, and a creature with paws behind. 22 A small number of similar 
images is known, dating as early as the Kassite Period but none has the 

17 Anthony Green, "A Note on the 'Scorpion-man' and Pazuzu," Iraq 47 (1985) 76-7. 
Examination of photographs kindly made available to me by the Institute of Archaeology 
in London show that ND 8186B was almost certainly made in the same mold as ND 7901, as 
were several other figures, some of which were also modified in various ways after pressing in 
the mold. 

18 "More Drawings of Ashurbanipal Sculpture," Iraq 26 (1964) 5-6 and pi. 2. Reade cites a 
note attached to the drawing stating that the head and the top of the pole were restored from 
the slab on the opposite side of the door in which they were found. According to Reade (pp. 
1-2), the drawing was made by William Boutcher. 

19 "Assyrian Architectural Decoration: Techniques and Subject Matter," BaM 10 (1979) 40. 

20 See Wiggermann, Protective Spirits 181-2. 

21 Richard D. Barnett, Sculptures from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (668- 
627 B.C.) (London: British Museum Publications, 1976) pi. 54. 

22 John Malcolm Russell, Sennacherib 's Palace Without Rival at Nineveh (Chicago: University 
of Chicago Press, 1 99 1 ) 1 82, fig 96; Erika R. Bleibtreu, Richard D. Barnett, and Geoffrey Turner, 
Sculptures from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh 1 (London: British Museum 
Press, 1998) 76 No. 231a Or. Dr. II, 43 (a & b); vol. 2, pi 157. The existence of this drawing 
had been mentioned already by Reade, "More Drawings" 5-6. 


Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 

specific details of the drawings of Neo- Assyrian reliefs. 23 Wiggermann was 
apparently the first to associate this type with the uridimmu, , 24 

Since the first examples were discovered this figure has been known as a 
lion-man, or described by some similar term that assumes that the lower part 
is that of a lion. For instance, William K. Loftus' 1854 description of the 
slab with the uridimmu and the mushussu states that "the lower extremities 
[of the former are] those of a lion with a boar's tail." 25 Wiggermann calls the 
uridimmu a "human-headed lion-man," 26 and many other instances could be 

Of course, if the "Mad Dog" is to be identified with the "Lion-Man," 
some adjustment of the terms must be made. This may be done with little 
difficulty, however, since the familiar equation of ur-mah = labbu, nesu = 
lion shows that a lion could be considered a special kind of dog. 

But is it necessary to suppose that the ur in uridimmu must mean a lion, 
rather than a dog? Why have pawed feet and curly tails always been assumed 
to be the rear ends of lions? Dogs have paws and tails, too. Let us look at the 
most explicit images that we have, the drawings of reliefs from Assurbanipal's 
North palace, and see whether the lion identification holds up. 

In the absence of the heads, the elements that we have to consider are the 
paws, the tails, and the genitals. 

One difference between the feet of domestic cats and dogs is generally 
known: cats' claws are retractable, and dogs' claws are not. Lions also can 
retract their claws, although some cannot do so entirely. On Assurbanipal's 
reliefs, many lions are shown with claws clearly visible when they are at 
rest, 27 while in the well-known scene of the hunting dogs straining at their 
leashes the claws are not shown clearly. 28 On the drawing of the uridimmu 
alone (Fig. 3) the claws are indistinct, while on that of the uridimmu and the 
mushussu (Fig. 4) claws are shown against the toes. 

Another difference between cats' and dogs' feet is that cats have dew 
claws, the fifth toes that sit higher on the foot, above the other toes, on 
the front feet but not on the back. Dogs often have dew claws on the front 
feet, and sometimes but not always on the back. Dew claws on the back 
feet would therefore identify a dog. An Assurbanipal relief of a (tame?) lion 
walking in the company of musicians shows dew claws clearly on the front 

23 See Wiggermann, Protective Spirits 1 73^; Frans A. M. Wiggermann, "Mischwesen. A. Phi- 
lologisch," RIA 8 242; and Anthony Green, "Mischwesen. B. Archaologisch," RIA 8 250-1 for 
references to other images. 

24 Frans A. M. Wiggermann, Babylonian Prophylactic Figures: The Ritual Texts (Amsterdam: 
Free University Press, 1986) 

25 Quoted in Barnett, Sculptures 74. 

26 Wiggermann, Protective Spirits 173,223. 

27 Barnett, Sculptures pis. 14 right, 15. 

28 Barnett, Sculptures pi. 14 left. 


Richard S. Ellis 

feet. 29 Assurbanipal's hunting dogs show them on the front feet, but very 
indistinctly, if at all, on the back feet. 30 Neither uridimmu drawing shows 
any sign of dew claws. The paws, then, provide us with no opportunity to 
distinguish the species of the creature's lower half. 

As we saw earlier, Loftus saw the tail as that of a boar, attached to the 
body of a lion. It does turn up and then down, making a fairly tight loop, 
but hardly like that of a pig. Most observers have seen it, however, as a 
lion's tail. 31 The tail was apparently an important part of the identity of the 
creature, since on the apotropaic clay figures from Nimrud mentioned above 
the tail was worked on the back after the main features of the images had 
been molded. 32 What kinds of animals have curly tails? If we look at the 
many lions in Assurbanipal's sculptures, we see many with up-curving tails, 
but none with actual loops. 33 The hunting dogs of Assurbanipal have curved 
rather scimitar-shaped tails that curve upward in a shallow arc from their 
rumps. 34 It has been pointed out that dogs cannot curl their tails into loops, 35 
and this is indeed true of dogs whose tails are normally straight. There are 
however, many kinds of dogs whose tails are normally curly: spitzes, pugs, 
chow-chows, Eskimo sled dogs, and, indeed, the Turkish sheep dog illustrated 
by Barnett. 36 One can find curly tails in Assurbanipal's palace on the five 
little clay dogs with the different colors and names that were found deposited 
at the columned western entrance. 37 Figures 5 and 6 are photographs of one 
of these dogs; the hind quarters (Fig. 6) clearly show the tightly curled tail. 38 
Of course, it would have been difficult to model an extended tail in unbaked 
clay, though a long straight tail could have been shown hanging down behind 
the legs. In addition, however, the numerous Neo-Assyrian bronze figurines 
of dogs, or of men and dogs side-by-side, that have been found at various 
places as far away as Samos, almost all show the dogs with tails curled 
on their rumps. 39 Some, at least, of these figurines may have been used as 

29 Barnett, Sculptures pi. 14 right. 
3 <> Barnett, Sculptures pi. 14 left, 40. 

31 For example, Jeremy A. Black and Anthony Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient 
Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary (illustr. by Tessa Rickards; London: British Museum 
Press, 1992) 122: "including a curled-over lion's tail." 

32 See above, notes 15 and 17. 

33 For example, Barnett, Sculptures pi. 58 right. 

34 Barnett, Sculptures pis. 14 left, 40. 

35 Paul-Alain Beaulieu, personal communication. 

36 Barnett, Sculptures text-plate 4:1. The Turkish sheep dog is the guardian of the sheep, not 
the herder. 

37 Barnett, Sculptures pi. 45; Curtis and Reads, Art and Empire 116-7. 

38 It is WA 30005, "Loud-Bark." I would like to thank Drs. Prudence O. Harper and Joan Aruz 
for their kindness and cooperation in allowing me to examine and photograph this and several 
other objects as the staff of the Metropolitan Museum was taking down the exhibit of British 
Museum objects. 

39 Eva Andrea Braun-Holzinger, Figiirliche Bronzen aus Mesopotamien (Prahistorische Bron- 
zefunde, Abteilung 1/4; Munich: Beck, 1984) pis. 62-3. 


Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 

apotropaia. 40 Clearly these curly-tailed dogs are meant to be a different breed 
from the Assurbanipal's hunting dogs; they are guard dogs, not hunters. It 
would be quite suitable symbolically that the uridimmu be the apotheosis of 
the watch-dog. 

It is the genitals shown on the drawings, however, that in my opinion 
clinch the identification of the hind-quarters as those of a dog. On each of 
the two drawings testicles and penis are shown against the creature's belly. 
If we survey the many lions on the reliefs of Assurbanipal, which include 
many that are shown almost or entirely upright, we see no example of genital 
organs shown against the belly (Figs. 7 and 8). 41 In some instances the lion's 
testicles are visible behind the rear leg. 42 Both uridimmu drawings were made 
by William Boutcher, a skillful and careful artist who had drawn many of 
Assurbanipal's lions, and who could not possibly have added such a feature 
by accident or on a whim; compare Fig. 9, his drawing of the same relief 
shown in Fig. 7. Cats, however, do not wear their gender on their sleeve, 
so to speak. Anyone who has had much experience with pets knows that 
it is harder to determine the sex of kittens than of puppies, and anecdotal 
accounts provide many instances of supposed tom-cats who unexpectedly 
produce kittens. 

Therefore: the evidence of the feet on the two drawings is equivocal; 
the tail is perfectly plausible for a dog; and the genitals show that it cannot 
possibly be a lion. I believe that it is clear that the uridimmu is in fact a 
dog-man. In the drawings that we have he looks grave and perhaps a bit 
anxious, rather than Mad, or Raging, still less Gruesome; no doubt he was a 
faithful guardian, as so many other dogs are. 

40 Vaughn E. Crawford, "Nippur, the Holy City," Archaeology 12 (1959) 74-83. 

41 For example, Barnett, Sculptures pis. 8, 11, 12,49, 50,52, 58, 59. Itmay be worth mentioning 
that the clay figurine ND 8186B (see n. 17, above) has a narrow depression on the front, 
between the thighs, as if some small stick of perishable material had been inserted there. It 
seems reasonable to suppose that this object was meant to represent the penis, and that a visible 
penis was regarded as a necessary part of the identity of the uridimmu. 

42 Barnett, Sculptures pis. 50, 52; see also pi. 13, slab 29. See also some of the larger 
reproductions of Assurbanipal lions in Richard D. Barnett, Assyrian Palace Reliefs and their 
Influence on the Sculptures of Babylonia and Persia (London: British Museum, 1970). 


Richard S. Ellis 

Fig. 1. ND 8186B front 


Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 

Fig. 2. ND 8186B back 


Richard S. Ellis 

Fig. 3. North Palace, Uridimmu A 


Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 

J l 

Fig. 4. North Palace, Uridimmu and Mushussu 


Richard S. Ellis 

Fig. 5. Clay dog WA 30005 3/4 view front 


Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 

Fig. 6. Clay dog WA 30005 3/4 view back 


Richard S. Ellis 

Fig. 7. North Palace, King killing lion (photo) 


Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu 

v -.-vim? 

Fig. 8. North Palace, King holding lion by tail (photo) 


Richard S. Ellis 

: i>~ t.Tt> v J-» ClV -^ m T 

Fig. 9. North Palace, King killing lion (drawing) 



A. J. Ferrara 

During the course of preparing a new critical edition of Inanna's Descent (ID), 
now based on fifty-eight exemplars, half of which had not been used previ- 
ously, it was only a matter of time before questions of its size and versions 
would resurface. These intriguing questions prompted a reconsideration of 
several interrelated questions having to do with the original circumstances 
of ID's composition, its subsequent development and transmission, its age 
and its existence in at least two putative Sumerian versions. 1 I will address 
briefly only one aspect of this rather complex matter — what the current tex- 
tual situation can tell us. 2 

In the earlier stages of ID's reconstruction, several revised and expanded 
editions reflected incremental gains in the total number of lines of text. This 
was a natural consequence of the continual discovery and incorporation of 
newly identified textual materials, predominantly fragmentary Nippur ex- 
emplars, in the initial and intermediate stages of textual reappropriation. 
Kramer's editio princeps for example, was based upon eight Nippur tablets 
which yielded 212 lines of continuous text and 58 additional lines provi- 
sionally placed en bloc by him after 1. 212 for a total of 260 lines of text. 3 
Confronted as he was with the various challenges in putting the composi- 
tion together, Kramer was understandably in no position to gauge its size. 4 
The poor state of preservation of CBS 9800 (C2) notwithstanding, Kramer 
utilized this text and Ni 368 (CI) as a "framework" around which to re- 
construct the composition. 5 This framework, the first tablet of a two tablet 

1 Jeremy Black, Reading Sumerian Poetry (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998) 44. 
For a discussion of the concept of versions and their interrelationships in a Sumerian hymnic 
composition, see Steve Tinney, "Ur-Namma the Canal-Digger: Context, Continuity and Change 
in Sumerian Literature," JCS 51 (1999) 31^19. 

2 See Bendt Alster's remarks, "Inanna Repenting: The Conclusion of Inanna's Descent," ASJ 
18 (1996) 2 note 7. 

3 S.N. Kramer, "Inanna's Descent to the Nether World" RA 34 (1937) 93-134. This does 
not include his restoration of 11. 58-63; cf. William R. Sladek, "Inanna's Descent to the 
Netherworld" (Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1974) 2-6. In the course of time with 
subsequent and revised text editions, the number of exemplars and lines increased such that 
Kramer's last text edition was based upon fifteen text witnesses from Nippur and consisted 
of 384 lines, "Tnanna's Descent to the Nether World' Continued and Revised" JCS 5 (1951) 

4 Kramer, "Inanna's Descent" 96 note 1 . The most that he ventured was that what was preserved 
did not contain the composition's beginning. 

5 Kramer, "Inanna's Descent" 94-5. Ni 368 (+) CBS 9800 became a kind of codex optimus by 
default. It is unfortunate that the only publication of CBS 9800 by Kramer was the photographs 
which accompanied the editio princeps. The generally poor state of preservation and the 


A.J. Ferrara 

multi-column series, and HS 1480+HS 1580 (TuM3 2)+HS2505+HS 2542 
(E) provide excellent comparative evidence with respect to constructing a 
model of the first tablet of a two tablet series. 6 Two additional fragments 
furnish an idea of how the reverse of the second tablet in the series might 
have looked: Ni 9776 (X), ISET I 183 and BM 69737, CT 58 59.? These 
fragments may even constitute an indirect and long distance join, despite the 
attributed provenience of the latter as Sippar. The paleographic and archival 
evidence is much too lengthy and complicated to be presented here and will 
have to await discussion in my forthcoming text edition. Suffice it to say 
that a hypothetically reconstructed obverse consisting of two columns of ± 
fifty lines per column and what remains preserved of the reverse yields an 
approximate range of 400 lines for this two tablet series and is consistent 
with E's partially preserved numeric colophon. 

It was not until 1963, in two different venues, that Kramer broached the 
problems of size and the possibility of two differently provenienced versions, 
one stemming from Ur and the other from Nippur. 8 In his discussion of one 
of the Ur exemplars, UET 6/18 (M), Kramer suggested without elaboration 
that the tablet originally may have contained as many as eight columns. 9 In 
the same discussion, based upon his analysis of what was then preserved by 
UET 6/110 (S) he noted that the size of at least this Ur redaction may have 
ranged from 420-500 lines. 10 

tablet's subsequent deterioration since it was first published have presented problems from the 
beginning of scholarly interest in the composition. Cf. A. Falkenstein, "Zu 'Inannas Gang zur 
Unterwelt'," AfO 14 (1941-1944) 113-4; Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 100 note 3. See already 
Langdon, BE 3 1 78 and Chiera, SRT 37. 

Its state of preservation makes a line count highly problematic. I have in my possession 
duplicates of the original museum photographs employed by Kramer and these are not much 
better than those which have been published. See Kramer's rationale for not providing a 
transliteration or autograph, "Inanna's Descent" 94-5 note 3. 

6 For HS 2505 see C. Wilcke, Kollationen zu den sumerischen literarischen Texten aus Nippur 
in der Hilprecht-Sammlungjena (Abhandlungen der Sachischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 
zu Leipzig, Philologisch-Historische Klasse 65/4; Berlin: Akademie- Verlag, 1 976) 1 3 . HS 2542 
was discovered and joined by van Dijk. I thank Professor Dr. Joachim Oelsner for kindly 
providing me with a copy of van Dijk's autograph of HS 2542 in advance of its forthcoming 

7 For ISET I 183, see Kramer, "ISET I: Corrigenda and Addenda to the Catalogue," RA 64 
(1970) 96. For CT 58 59, see Kramer, "Sumerian Literature and the British Museum: The 
Promise of the Future" PAPS 124 (1980) 302; Alster, "Inanna Repenting" 5-6. Geller's copy 
in CT 58 is to be preferred over Kramer's. 

8 Kramer, "Cuneiform Studies and History of Literature," PAPS 107 (1963) 514 note 47; 
Kramer, UET 6/1 3. 

9 Kramer, UET 6/1 3. The tablet's thickness alone, 3.2 cm, suggests that Kramer's surmise 
may be correct. If so, it can be used as a tablet model which, at 50-60 lines per column, yields 
between 400-480 lines. 

10 Kramer, UET 6/1 3. Counting the double lines as single lines gives a total well in excess 
of 500 lines. Kramer's assertion that the colophon treated the 2:1 lines as single lines may be 
correct but contradicts his later (?) opinion that the colophon referred to another exemplar. 


The Size and Versions oflnanna s Descent 

This position was clarified somewhat by Kramer in another discussion in 
which he stated that the number contained in the colophon of UET 6/1 10, 
read by Kramer as 174 (he did not transliterate the colophon), did not refer 
to the number of lines on the tablet, which he characterized as "unusually 
long and wide," but to the number of lines on tablets of normal size. If 174 
did refer to the number of lines in the tablet, then "these would correspond to 
about 250 lines of our myth." 11 This highlights some of the methodological 
problems involved in computing the composition's size by means of what 
little was then preserved by this tablet. A telling footnote, in which Kramer's 
initial confidence gave way in the end to a lack of certainty, reflects the 
difficulties Kramer faced: 

[W]e are in a position to calculate the number of lines of the myth as a whole, by 
adding 174 to 252 (since UET VI, No. 10 begins with line 253 of the myth) or 426 
lines. And since we now have approximately 389 lines of the myth — 359 lines 
as restored in JCS V . . . plus the approximately thirty new lines from UET VI, 
No. 10 ... there are still missing only about 38 lines. However there is some 
possibility that the Ur version of the myth was considerably longer than that. For 
on top of UET VI, No. 10 we find two figures — 169 and 174 [sic] unaccompanied 
by any text whatever, and it is not unlikely that these refer to the number of lines 
on the first and second tablets of the series of which UET VI, No. 10 is the third 
and last. If so, the total number of lines on the first two tablets would be 343 (that 
is 91 lines more than the 252 lines which they say they have) since the third tablet 
begins with line 252. For the present, therefore, the total number of lines of the 
myth is still rather uncertain. 12 

There matters remained until the appearance in 1974 of William Sladek's 
doctoral dissertation which is the text edition currently cited in the literature. 
This edition, based upon thirty-two exemplars, incorporated the Ur textual 
materials then extant as well as additional Nippur text witnesses that had 
been identified in the intervening time between Kramer's last treatment and 
Sladek's dissertation and consisted of 412 lines. 13 

11 Kramer, "Cuneiform Studies" 514 note 47. This reflects an implicit and unwarranted 
assumption that almost every line of UET 6/1 10 is 2:1; Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" 303; 
Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 1 6. 

12 Kramer, "Cuneiform Studies" 514 note 47. His reading of one of the numeric tags at the 
tablet's top as 1 74 should be reduced to 1 64. The numeric tallies at the tablet's top read: 1 20:40:9 
and 120:40:4. 

13 Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 100-2. Sladek incorporated the Ur and Nippur materials then 
known and previously discussed by Kramer as well as additional Nippur exemplars. See Alster's 
remarks concerning the additional Nippur sources used by Sladek, "Inanna Repenting" 1 note 
4. He may have been aware of the Ur texts discussed by Kramer in his "Sumerian Literature," 
in whole or in part, but was unable, for unknown reasons, to utilize them in his text edition. 
Sladek alluded, without specification, to "unpublished Ur tablets" with respect to the lacuna 
posited by him after 1. 384 between the end of Ni 9776 rev. ii 10' (X) and UET 6/1 10 rev. 1' 


A.J. Ferrara 

In his dissertation Sladek followed Kramer's lead in calculating the com- 
position's size based upon UET 6/1 10. Although he was aware of the numer- 
ical tallies at the tablet's top and referred to a discussion in his commentary, 
this was apparently omitted. He concluded nonetheless that the number 174 
contained in the colophon could not refer to the number of lines in the tablet 
and corresponded instead to "standard" lines found in an ordinary text. He 
reasoned that the textual bases that he utilized to calculate the number of 
lines of the composition's first "half," Ni 368 (+) CBS 9800 and TuM 3 2, 
were sufficient in themselves to provide a continuous text and line count with 
some variation, up to his reconstructed line 236. To this he simply added the 
Ur materials then available to arrive at a total number of lines while acknowl- 
edging that the differences presented by UET 6/110 were attributable to its 
provenience. 14 This clearly illustrates the inherent problems in combining 
line counts from differently provenienced exemplars — a suitable approach 
for the initial reconstruction of a running text from disparate and fragmentary 
sources but inappropriate when used by itself to arrive at estimates of a given 
composition's "size." For compositions that have a considerably high num- 
ber of text witnesses from different proveniences and possibly from different 
time periods, one must consider alternative methods of text presentation and 
take into account tablet types and formats as these relate to line count. In 
these circumstances, the last and least desirable index of a composition's size 
is the text edition itself. 

When these stochastic attempts were made, there was simply too little 
preserved of UET 6/1 10 to warrant such procedures. Both Kramer and 
Sladek assumed that the number of 2:1 lines presented by the tablet were 
more numerous than they actually were. 15 It was further assumed implicitly by 
both that there was a narratival and episodic uniformity among fragmentary 
exemplars stemming from two different proveniences sufficient to warrant 
taking the lineation of predominantly Nippur-based text editions and adding 
the line totals from Nippur and Ur exemplars as well as counting forward and 
backward from lacunae in the running text in order to arrive at an estimate 
of the composition's size. 

Before orpossiblyjust after the appearance of Sladek's dissertation, Aaron 
Shaffer effected the join of a large fragment to UET 6/1 10. Thanks to the 
painstaking efforts of Shaffer, Kramer, and Alster, the tablet is now largely 
complete at the top, bottom, and sides although not without problems. 16 

14 Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 15, 16 and note 1. Surprisingly, Sladek did not mention the 
partially preserved numeric colophon contained in TuM 3 2 rev. iv. The decimal and units 
portion of the colophon is somewhat damaged but, faute de mieux, it reflects 201+ lines: 

15 The 2:1 lines preserved on the obverse: 4, 6, 7-8, 10, 15, 19, 21, 23, 25-27, 31, 33-35, 37, 
40^11, 43, 46 (3:1 line) 47, 57. 1:3 lines, obv: 58-60. 

16 One difficulty is the poor condition of the reverse. See Kramer's remarks, "Sumerian 


The Size and Versions oflnanna s Descent 

The tablet as reconstructed presents a more complicated picture than could 
have been imagined previously with respect to line count and the possible 
existence of another version of the composition. 17 The differences exhibited 
by it specifically and other Ur exemplars generally suggest an Ur recension 
somewhat different from those of Nippur regarding both size and varia. 

It has long been maintained that ID may have existed in several versions — 
a relatively common feature exhibited by several Sumerian literary composi- 
tions of the Early Old Babylonian Period. Given this possibility, which seems 
to be supported by the evidence, the task of establishing the composition's 
size as well as determining what additional material may have been included 
by the Ur recension is indeed daunting. 18 The question becomes whether or 
not it is possible to identify a particular version current at a specific point 
in time and at home in a particular locale. For instance, in attempting to 
establish a terminus post quern for certain text exemplars, can a case be made 
that some of the place names in the description of Inanna's abandonment of 
cities and shrines, i.e., Kazallu, Ur, Umma, Suruppak, and Isin mentioned 
in and unique to TuM 3 2 obv. i 5'ff, contain a distant, albeit incomplete 
memory of the alliance against Naram-Sin? Similarly, does mention of Larsa 
in the corresponding list preserved by an Ur tablet as well as its occurence 
in UET 6/1 10 obv. 64-5, coupled with the notion that some Ur literary 
texts are earlier than Nippur exemplars, give rise to a presumption that the 
Ur exemplars may originate from some time during the reign of Rim-Sin? 19 

Literature" 299-300. Related to this is the disparity between Kramer's and Alster's line counts, 
although this may be more apparent than real. Kramer counts 66 lines for the reverse. Alster, 
"Inanna Repenting" 7 counts 67 lines. Note however that Alster appears to omit 1. 69 (13); 
cf. 2 note 7. Another problem is the lack of clarity of Kramer's and Alster's descriptions of 
how Kramer's fragments Ba, Bb, Be, Ca, Cb, and D, published in "Sumerian Literature" 302, 
constitute a join. See Figs. 1 and 2 for the relative position of the fragments. 

17 The question of versions is further complicated by some critics' insertion of UET 6/1 1 1 
(Dumuzi and Gestinanna) into ID, despite that fact that there is little textual warrant to do 
so. I surveyed the evidence in my paper "Why the Tears Inanna? The Ur Versions of Inanna's 
Descent," presented at the 208th meeting of the American Oriental Society, New Orleans, April 
5th-8th, 1998. Cf, Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 26-7:59 note 1; Th. Jacobsen, The Harps that 
Once ...: Sumerian Poetry in Translation (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987) 
226-31; Diane Wolkstein and S.N. Kramer, Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth (New York: 
Harper & Row, 1983) 51-85, 206. For a discussion and justification of Wolkstein and Kramer's 
attempt, see John D. Evers, Myth and Narrative: Structure and Meaning in Some Ancient Near 
Eastern Texts (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1995) 66-72. For the idea of Dumuzi 
and Gestinanna as a variant version of ID, see Kramer, UET 6/1 3; "Cuneiform Studies" 5 1 5-6; 
Jean Bottero and S.N. Kramer, Lorsque les dieux faisaient I'homme (rev. ed.; Paris: Editions 
Gallimard, 1997) 295-300. PSD A/III 1 1, refers to this composition as "Inanna's Descent, Ur 
version," which further complicates matters. 

1 8 The additional material raises as well the critical question of "version," and what this implies. 
This is a very complicated subject and cannot be dealt with in detail here. 

i'J Cf. BM 29 + 73 + 89, Shaffer's copy (unpublished, to appear in UET 6/3) obv. 6': larsa k '-a 
e-me-ur4-[ur4. . .]. My thanks to Professor Shaffer for kindly furnishing me with his autograph 
in advance of publication and to C. B. F. Walker of the British Museum for his invaluable help. 


A.J. Ferrara 

The current state of textual affairs makes these questions slippery. Such a goal 
is most difficult, and we are best advised presently to view this composition 
and its versions as consisting of accretions of several different story elements 
that were subject to modification and could and did change in the course of 
textual transmission. 

The notion of size with respect to the Ur evidence rests largely upon 
inferences drawn from the colophon of UET 6/1 10 and the fact that the 
number contained therein does not agree with the number of lines existing 
in the now reconstructed tablet. 20 If one assumes with Kramer and Sladek 
that the colophon reflects the number of lines of another tablet and that the 
numeric tallies on its top reflect the total number of lines of text of the 
first and second tablets of this text set, it would appear that the Ur version 
represented by this phantom exemplar contained slightly over five hundred 
lines of text or approximately one hundred lines more than the Nippur version 
as reconstructed. 21 

Reflected in Gadd's copy is a scholium at the left margin that signals 
the intentional omission of twenty-eight lines. 22 Omitted en bloc is a report 
of the execution of Enki's instructions by the galaturra and kurgarra. We 
know from other Nippur and Ur exemplars as well as U, that most text 
witnesses contained this section. 23 If the number of omitted lines is added to 
the number of lines of text preserved in the tablet, we still fall somewhat short 
of the number reflected in the colophon. A remarkable feature of UET 6/1 
10 reverse, ignored by earlier commentators, is a pair of vertical strokes 
on the lower left edge of Gadd's copy which are very similar to those that 
appear on the obverse. 24 If their function was the same as that of the scholium 

The general chronological horizon for standard Sumerian literary compositions of the Old 
Babylonian period assumes a three hundred and fifty year period from 2000 to 1650 BC. See 
Black, Sumerian Poetry 32. 

20 For purposes of this discussion the lineation for UET 6/1 10 as reconstructed follows 
Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" and Alster, "Inanna Repenting," notwithstanding the problems 
with these lineation schemes that will be discussed in my forthcoming text edition. Sladek, 
"Inanna's Descent" 101 noted that the obverse began with his 1. 231. Kramer, "Sumerian 
Literature" 303 read the next line as the first line of the obverse. Cf. Alster's remarks, "Inanna 
Repenting" 2 note 7. 

21 The numeric tallies at the tablet's top, when added to the number in the colophon, equals 
507/508 (the units portion of the colophon's number is damaged). The Nippur textual evidence 
points to 100 lines less than that of UET 6/1 10. Yet compare UET 6/1 8 (M), note 9 above. 
Sladek 's argument is not altogether clear, "Inanna's Descent" 15-6, 152. There is no basis for 
his assumption that all three tablets mentioned in the colophon were of equal length. Merely 
adding the two numbers at the tablet's top to the number in the colophon still yields more than 
500 lines. Cf. Kramer, "Cuneiform Studies" 514 note 47. 

22 Obv. 1 5 according to Gadd's lineation. See Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 134, critical apparatus 
ad 11. 252-79. 

2 3 Ni 9838+Ni 2762 obv. 3-23 (T); N 983 obv. l'-7' (T\ placement problematic); CBS 13902 
obv. 1-10 (V); UET 6/1 8 rev. 5'-18' (M\CT 42 2 rev. l'-5' (R); YBC 4621 obv. 1-8 (U). 

24 Rev. 1. 2 scholium at left edge, 1. 3, AS (=10), possibly a line count mark, in the preceding 


The Size and Versions oflnanna s Descent 

incised on the obverse, these strokes may indicate the intentional omission 
of lines as well. An examination of the line environments of both scholia 
suggests that the one topic which both sets have in common is that oflnanna 
pronouncing judgments. In the first instance, that of the fly who provided her 
with information as to the whereabouts of Dumuzi and in the second, Inanna 
pronouncing the fates of Dumuzi and Gestinanna: 

2 num-e r ku d inanna-ke4 n [. . .] V [...] 

3 ki-sikil d inanna-ke4 num-e ! [nam-mu]-ni-[ib]-tar-re 25 


12 U4 nincj-zu al-di-e 114-bi ib-ta-en-de 

13 kii d inanna-ke4 rdn dumu-zi sag-bi-se bi-in-sum- r mu" 126 

Size is implicated as well when one considers other indicia presented by the 
tablet which seem to suggest a version somewhat different than that presented 
by Nippur text witnesses. I can only offer here a preliminary survey of these 
and conclude with some observations regarding related matters. 

1. Ereskigal's Speech to Enki's Creatures and Attribution of Inanna's 
Rescue to Enki, obv. 16-8 

These lines are unattested by the one Nippur exemplar, CBS 13902 (V), 
which belongs to this section: 

16 d eres-ki-gal-la gala-<tur> kur-gar-r[a gu mu-un-na-de3]-e (282) 

17 tum-mu-un-ze-en ga-sa- r an-ne-zu x" 1 zu-ne-ne ba-dabs 27 (283) 

18 dr inanna n inim d en-ki-<ga-se3> [k]ur-ta en 28 (284) 

line; L 12 scholium at left edge, 1. 13, as in the preceding line (lineation after Gadd's copy). Is 
the AS evidence of a feature of the tablet from which UET 6/110 was copied? 

25 Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" 305 11. 120-1; Alster, "Inanna Repenting" 8, 11. 120-1. 

26 Alster, "Inanna Repenting" 9; 1 5 ad 11. 4 1 1-2. Whatever traces Alster read as r xx n after sag- 
bi-se are completely obliterated now. Contra Alster, Kramer restored e-a in brackets, "Sumerian 
Literature" 305 ad 1.412. 

27 Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 138; Dina Katz, "How Dumuzi Became Inanna's Victim: On the 
Formation of 'Inanna's Descent'" ASJ 1 8 (1996) 98-9. 

28 Contra Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 138 1. 284, and Gadd's copy, there is no space between 
d en-ki and kur. Restore: d en-ki-<ga-se3> [k]ur-ta en. 


A.J. Ferrara 

2. Description of the Demonic Deputy Band that Accompanied Inanna 
during her Search for a Substitute, obv. 22-9 

22 [lii igi-na-k]e4 sukkal nu-me-a 6is r tukul su-na n bi-in-du8 29 (291) 

23 [bar-ra-na] r ra-gaba nu'-me-a s is [tukul iir-r]a 30 bi-in-dus [gals-la-tur-tur 
gi-sukur-giny] 31 (292) 

24 [gal5-la-gal]- r gal gi-dub-ba"'-an 32 -na za-ga 33 -na um- r dab5 n -[be-es] (294) 

25 l[ii e-ne lii mu-un-si-re7-es-am lii d inanna-ra mu-un]-si-r[e7-es-am] (295-6) 

26 zi-dub-[dub-ba nu-kii-me-es a-bal-bal-a nu-nas-njag-me-es (298-9) 

27 dumu l[ii-duio]- r ub-ta ba-ra-arf-lzi-ge-es dam-ii]r lii-ka 
ba-ra-si-il-l[e-es] 34 " (304) 

28 e-g[i4-a e]-usbar-na 35 -ka im-ma-ta-an- r e"'-[es-am] (305) 

29 sum rsarn nig ses-a nu-kii-e-me-es lii ku6 nu-kii-me-es lu ga-ras sar 
r nu n -ku-[me-es] (306) 

This is a highly variant section even among the Nippur exemplars and will 
be treated in my forthcoming text edition. 36 

3. Specification of Locale Where Ninsubur Meets Inanna after She is 
Revived and Released from KUR, obv. 31 

r U4 n -[da] rdn inanna-ke4 kur-ta en-da-ni-ta d nin- r subur n -ra-ke4 
abul- r ganzir n -[ra-ka giri-ni-se ba-an-sub] (306-7) 

4. Specific Attribution to Enki as the One Who Saved Inanna, obv. 43 

[ d am]-an-ki-ga-<se> irbi-seg-seg d am<-an>- r ki n -[ke4 ma-ra-mu-un-ti]-li-na- 

29 Sladek, "Inanna 's Descent" 139; Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" 303 1. 21. Traces of ke4 are 
visible on the tablet. 

30 Sladek, "Inanna 's Descent" 139; Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" ad 1. 22. Whether sisfukul 
or K' § gidri is to be restored is uncertain. 

31 There is available space for a 2:1 line and restoration. Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 139critical 
apparatus ad 1.293 noted the presence of the line in UET 6/1 10 without comment. Kramer, 
"Sumerian Literature" 303 restored the continuation at the beginning of the following line. 

32 Contra Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 149 critical apparatus note 2 ad 1. 294, -an- is not omitted 
by the tablet. 

33 Contra Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" 303 -ga- is clear. 

34 Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" ad 1 . 26. 

35 usbar (URxNUN) is clear on the tablet. See Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 141, 1. 305; Kramer, 
"Sumerian Literature" 303 ad 1. 27; correctly read usbar-na, contra Sladek. 

36 See provisionally, Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 139-41, critical apparatus ad 11. 290a and 
b; Alster, Dumuzi s Dream. Aspects of Oral Poetry in Sumerian Myth (Mesopotamia 1 ; 
Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1972) 64-7, 11. 1 10-8 and his comments on 104-6. 

37 Professor Aaron Shaffer kindly provided me with a copy of his autograph in advance of 


The Size and Versions oflnanna s Descent 

5. Mention of Larsa as the Place Where Dumuzi was Apprehended by 
the Deputy Band, obv. 64-5 

64 [...] larsam ki - r ma' 1 

65 s i5 hashur [gul-l]a [eden] r larsam nki -m[a-se ga-an]-si-re7-de-en (347-8 

6. Inanna's Charge to the Deputy Band, rev. 7-10 

7 [kit d inanna-ke4 g]als-la-e-ne mu-un-na-[ni]-ib-gi4-gi4 

8 [lu me]- r e n mu-un-si-re7 re -es-am 

9 [ d dumu-zi dib-be-en-ze-en] su nu-bar-re-ze-en 
10 [gals-la-e-ne d dumu-zi ba-ar]-dib-be-es 

7. Abbreviated Description of the Deputy Band that Apprehended 
Dumuzi, rev. 11-12 

1 1 lii nin-e [mu-u]n-si- r re7 n -es-am 

12 d dumu-zi-[da mu-un]-si-re7-es-<am > 

8. Dumuzi's Prayer to Utu, rev. 17-24 38 

17 [gurus-e d utu-ra] an-se su-<ni> ba-si-in-zi (369) 

18 [dam-dingir-ra]-me-en lii nu-me-en 

19 [e-ama-z]u-se i giir-ru-me-en (371) 

20 [e-nin-gal-s]e ga gur-ru-me-en 

21 r e n -[an-na]-se [li] r gur n -[ru]-me-en 39 

22 unu ki -[se ni-mi-us-sa]-ak-a-me-en 

23 r nundum n -[ku-ga] ne su-[ub-ba-me-en] 

24 d[uio-ku-ga duio - d inanna-ke4 e]-ne-di r dun n -[ga-me-en] 

its publication in UET 6/3 for which I express my thanks. His copy is accurate and the tablet 
is legible at this point. Collation shows that after d am-ki at midline, the balance of the line is 
destroyed except for illegible traces. Specific mention of Enki is unattested by any other text 
witness. See Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 143 — 4, 11. 325-6 (the second half of the line = 326). 
All other exemplars read e-ne. Sladek's translation should be corrected to "he," referring to 
Enki and not Ninsubur. The balance of the line, -li-na-am is read with Kramer, "Sumerian 
Literature" 303, 1. 42. 

38 See Sladek, "Inanna's Descent" 148, 11. 368 ff.; Alster, Dumuzi s Dream 1 14-6. A detailed 
analysis of the prayer's structure, line count, and variations will be provided in my forthcoming 
critical edition. 

39 Cf. Kramer, "Sumerian Literature" 304 ad 1. 89. gur is partially preserved and depicted in 
Shaffer's copy. Cf. further, Alster, Dumuzi's Dream 115; and Alster, "Inanna Repenting" 5 
ad 1. 87. This line was inadvertently omitted in my review of Yitschak Sefati, Love Songs in 
Sumerian Literature, JNES 61 (2002) 133. 


A.J. Ferrara 

If, as I have attempted to demonstrate, what remains preserved of UET 6/110 
as reconstructed constitutes an Ur "version" sufficiently differentiated from 
Nippur text exemplars to warrant application of the term, then the textual 
evidence from Ur prompts the question of what the contents of the additional 
hundred or so lines might have been. 

In some respects, we are in no better position than were Kramer or 
Sladek to judge the size of ID. However, we are at least in a better position 
to refine what we mean when we speak of different versions and how these 
may relate to the problem of size. We still have no complete, definitive, 
and provenienced master text against which to judge what are still at base 
stochastic procedures available to ascertain size. The prospects of one turning 
up are, as always, subject to chance. But some of the lacunae that have 
bedeviled past attempts to answer the question of size and that gave rise to 
the incorporation of topically similar materials to "fill in the gaps," are now 
largely non-existent. Notwithstanding the apparent high degree of variation 
reflected by the text exemplars for that latter part of the story which deals 
with Dumuzi's passion, the Nippur im-gid-da "series," now rehabilitated 
thanks to complete or nearly complete tablets, affords a much better picture 
of at least one tradition's redaction of this composition. The reconstruction 
of UET 6/1 10, although not without lacunae, permits inferences regarding a 
model of the other two tablets mentioned in its colophon. 40 This model alone 
points to a considerably larger number of lines for at least one exemplar from 
Ur. When viewed in conjunction with the shadow exemplar presumed by the 
colophon, the impression expressed by Kramer years ago concerning a larger 
composition indigenous to Ur is reinforced. Just as significant are the textual 
discoveries subsequent to Sladek's dissertation, which clearly illustrate the 
shortcomings of "guesstimates" that employ as a benchmark a given text 
edition or its presentation format — the so-called editor's standard text and 
the operative assumptions which this can prompt. In some instances the 
editor has no choice but to cobble together by way of textual bricolage a text 
edition comprised of disparate, fragmentary, and occasionally contradictory 



It is with a profound sense of pleasure and a recollection of pleasant 
memories both in and out of the various museums we have frequented that 
I dedicate this study in text tinkering to Erie Leichty, teacher, friend, and 
colleague of many years. 

40 I have been able to reconstruct tablet II of the series or one very similar to it from unpublished 
fragments in the British Museum which will appear in UET 6/3. Five fragments belong to the 
obverse and preserve 33 lines. Two fragments belong to the reverse and preserve 15 lines. 

41 For a succinct statement of the problems associated with an editor's standard text, see 
M. Powell, "Ukubi to Mother ... The Situation is Desperate," ZA 68 (1978) 163^1; Black, 
Sumerian Poetry 29, 37. 


The Size and Versions oflnanna s Descent 

Fig. 1. Inanna's Descent, UET 6/1 10 obv. The deformity of UET 6/1 10 makes 
problematic the join of the edges constituted by the fragments Ba, Bb, and Be for 
the obverse and Ca, Cb, and D for the reverse to the main tablet. In UET 6/III the 
fragments will be presented as joined to each other but separately from the main 
tablet as indicated in a written communication from C.B.E Walker, May 24, 2004. 
In any event, the relative position of the lines that remain preserved by the joined 
fragments will not be affected in the editor's standard edition. 


A.J. Ferrara 

Fig. 2. Inanna's Descent, UET 6/1 10 rev. 




The particular Late Babylonian tablet published in this article could well have 
been written for Erie Leichty personally. It is a learned textual commentary — 
a genre long a Leichty preoccupation — and it treats a chapter of Summa izbu, 
the omen series long close to his heart. It presents us with some new entries 
and insights, and is, to boot, virtually perfectly preserved. It seems likely that 
he will read it with pleasure. 

As is explicit in the colophon, the tablet belonged to, or was written by, 
Iqisa, the well-known Uruk scholar, and there can be no doubt that the tablet 
originated at that site, 1 especially when IqTsa's commentary on Izbu XVII in 
E. von Weiher, SpTU 2 no. 38 is compared. 2 The omens underlying the new 
commentary have been only partly available in Leichty's classic edition, but 
the Warka version of Izbu VII given in SpTU 4 no. 142, quoted below as 
Uruk, now adds some very helpful material. 

The colophon reads: 

35 sata-commentary, oral explanations and scholarly questions from 

36 "If an anomalous foetus has a lion's head;" eighth(sic) (tablet); reading from 
(the series) Summa izbu; incomplete; 

37 "If an anomalous foetus has two heads but one neck." Collated. 

38 Tablet of Iqisa, son of Istar-sum-eres, descendant of 

39 Ekur-zakir, the exorcist and Urukaean. 

The colophon shows a clear numeral VIII here, but this is probably an 
error for VII in view of all the other consistent evidence for Izbu tablet 
numeration; see TCS 4 100-1, where line 37 here is the incipit to Tablet VII, 
and the catchline, line 38, is the incipit to Tablet VIII. The fact that both 

1 This stray Uruk tablet has been published here after due consultation with Professor E. von 
Weiher, who has strongly recommended that the text be made available. The tablet, which had 
been in the collection of one Monsieur Pierre M. since the mid-1970s, was sold in an auction 
entitled "Archeologie" as item 210 at the Hotel Drouot, Paris, on 7 November 1997. The small 
photograph of the reverse published in the catalogue was shortly thereafter made available to 
the present writer by the auctioneers through the kind help of Beatrice Andre-Salvini. The 
tablet was subsequently sold at Christie's New York Antiquities sale on Friday, 5 June 1998, 
where it was lot 14. It has since been brought for examination to the British Museum by the 
purchaser, and the opportunity has here been taken to make this text known. I am most grateful 
to Matthew Rutz for helpful discussion of textual points. 

2 According to J. Oelsner, "Von Iqisa und einigen anderen spatgeborenen Babyloniern," in 
Studies Cagni 2 802-3, the expression IM PN means "tablet owned by PN." There are frequent 
erasures to be noticed in this tablet. 


/. L. Finkel 

lines 19 and 20 end be-pi reveals that the contents of this tablet were not 
original to this scribe, and that the manuscript from which he was working 
was damaged. 

The text of this commentary is mostly far from esoteric, and, as shown 
in the notes, runs to some extent in parallel with the entries in the principle 
Izbu Commentary and Commentary V edited in TCS 4. The commentator 
quotes twice from Ludlul bel nemeqi, once from Erimhus, and once from the 
series of Sidu. 


Note: A copy of this tablet is given as Figs. 1 and 2. Entries that represent 
omens, or parts of Tablet VII omens, have been rendered in bold type for 
clarity. The scribe is not fully consistent in the use of Winkelhaken, but none 
has been added here. 


1 BAD iz-bu SAG.DU UR.MAH GAR NUN LUGAL-fti SV-tii BIB-bat 

2 met-lu-tu DJJ-ak me-et-lu-tu : si-bu-u-tu : MIN lit-tu-tu 

3 KUR ina te-em ra-ma-ni-su i-tak-kal : it-ku-lu : ha-ra-su 

4 KUR E : KUR tar-du-tu : KUR : kab-tu : tar-du : ra-ad-du 

5 SAR : ta-ra-du : SAR : ra-da-du : BAD iz-bu SAG.DU-sm NU GAL-zma 

6 ina MAS.GAN SAG.DU-Mi UZU ul-lu-su GAR : ul-lu-su ra-bu-u 
1 es-re-e-tu : E.MES : GIM as-suk-ku kup-pu-ut-ma GAR 

8 as-suk-ku ze-er-pi : as-suk-ku : ti-it kup-pu-ut 

9 IM.DUGUD : as-suk-ku : IM : ti-it : T ti-if: DUGUD : kab-tu 

10 sd-nis as-suk-ku : kur-ban-nu : as-suk-ku : ab-nu as-pi 

1 1 llb-bu-u i-kim-su as-pa-su as-suk-ka-su u-sah-hi-ir 

12 UZU GIM s iS KIB Zl-ih : na-si-ih : sa-kin : MA : na-sa-hu MA sa-ka-nu 


14 i-na-as-sa-ah i-sak-kan Ub-bi-su ul i-na-hu <ina> LUGAL NITA-m-Zm qa-b 

1 5 da-kis : da-ka-su : du-uk-ku-us : da-ga-su : ra-bu-u 

16 Si-pir tuh-du DU : si-pi-ir tu-uh-du il-lak : sal-tis 

17 llb-bu-u sd-ad-di-hu <a->ha-a-a ku-ta-at-tu-mu i-ta-ha-az 

18 sd e-ti-li-is at-tal-la-ku ha-la-lis al-ma-du 

19 ina lud-lul EN <<E>> ne-me-qa qa-bi ana bu-ul b'-pi 

20 IM.SEG ana KUR re-se-e-ti LA-a : KUR re-se-e-tu b<=-pi 

2 1 sd-nis ina re-es sat-ti sd-a-ri u zu-un-nu i-ma-at-tu E 

22 na-mur-ra-as-su GABA.RI NU TUKU-si : na-mur-ra-as-su : 


23 IM ni : NI.GAL : SU.LIM ME ! XAM.MA : pu-luh-tu nam-ri-ir-ri 

24 sd-lum-ma-tu : me-lam-mu ina ERIM.HUS qa-bi 


On an Izbu VII Commentary 

25 bur-ru-um : bu-ur-ru-um : bur-ru-mu : pa-ri-im 

26 BUR-ra-MU : su-up-pu-hu : mar-si-it KUR d UTU-s* : mar-si-it : bu-su-u 

27 NIG.GAL.LA : bu-su-u : NIG.GAL.LA : mar-si-tu 4 

28 qe-e-el : he-bu-u : kud-du : qe-e-el : kud-du : he-bu-u 

29 lib-bu-u su-uh-hu-tu kur-ban-ne-e su-un-su ma-li sd i-qer-ru-ba-am-ma 

30 i-ni si-qa-an-ni a-ki-il-su sd ina ES.GAR m si-dit E-ii 

3 1 ku-up-pu-ut : li-ip-tu nu-sur-ru-u ki-ma PU.MES hur-ru-su 

32 BAD iz-bu UZU GIM su-ru-um-mi am-ma-at ina SAG.KI-s« GID.DA 

33 SAG. GAR : su-ru-um-mi su-ru-um-mi ir-ru : KUR su-un-qam IGI-ma 

34 EGIR EN A.KAL HV-ku : su-un-qam : su-un-qu sd-nis sun-/(KAL)-qu : 
dan-na-tu : sd-nis su-un-qa 

35 UL.LA su-ut KA u mas-a-a-al-ti sd KA um-man-nu sd SA 

36 BAD iz-bu SAG.DU UR.MAH GAR 8-w mdl-su-ut BAD iz-bu NU AL.TIL 
3 7 BAD iz-bu 2 SAG.DU.MES-f u GU-su 1 -ma IGI.TAB 

38 IM ™BA-sd-a bu-kur ^INNIN-MU-KAM SA.BAL.BAL 

39 ™e-kur-za-kir "MAS.MAS UNUG ki -w 


1. This first line, quoted without explanation, conforms to the incipit as 
attested in the extant sources for Izbu and the colophon here, line 37. 

2. Treating Izbu VII: 3. The ambiguity of the spelling met-lu-tu (metlutu, 
"mature age") with BAD, which earlier led to the incorrect reading as til-lu- 
tam ("work gang") in TCS 4 91 3, is now clarified by the writing me-et-lu-tu, 
here equated with sibutu and littutu, both terms for "old age." 

3. The commented apodosis has been missing in TCS 4, but the omen is 
now preserved in Uruk 21 (= Izbu VII: 31): [BAD iz-b]u SAG TI 8 .MUSEN 
GAR KUR ina te-em ~N\-sa-ma i-tak-kal, "If an anomalous foetus has the 
head of an eagle, the land will consume itself." The same phrase is treated 
in Izbu Comm. 254b-c, where the broken text which had been available 
to the ancient commentators can now be restored: be-ptes-su \M ra - ma - ni -sa-ma 
i-tak-kal being KUR ina KA.HI NI-sd-ma i-tak-kal, and b e -p> rf -™ -/« ha-ra-su 
likewise it-ku-lu ha-ra-su. The verb harasu here, equated with itkulu, perhaps 
has the nuance "to diminish." 

4. KUR E must be the end of an unidentified apodosis, where KUR is 
explained as tardutu, taridutu, "condition of a fugitive," and the roots taradu, 
"to send away," and radadu, "to pursue," are shown to share the equivalents 
KUR and SAR; cf Izbu Comm. 254d-e: tar(\)-du =ra-ad-du, SAR [=] ta-ra- 


/. L. Finkel 

du, SAR [=] ra-da-du; the equivalent KUR = kabtu is, however, unexplained 
and not paralleled. 

5-6. Here an otherwise unattested omen is quoted in full: BAD iz-bu SAG. 
DU-su NU GAL-ma ina MAS.GAN SAG.DU-sm UZU ul-lu-su GAR, "If an 
anomalous foetus has no head, but has a lump of flesh (lit. swollen flesh) 
instead of his head." The same omen is commented on in Izbu Comm. 261-2: 
ul-lu-su = ra-bu-u, ul-lu- r su l = [. . .], and more fully in Izbu Comm. V 254f-g: 
MAS.GAN (maskanu) = ig-ru (unexplained), ul-lu-su = ra-bu-u, ul-lu-su^- = 

7-10. esretu, "shrines," is explained by bitati, "temples;" cf. es-re-e-tit = 
E.MES DINGIR.MES in Izbu Comm. 89, treating the extant omen Izbu II 1 9. 
The commented omen that follows is also unrecovered, but can be recon- 
structed as BAD iz-bu GIM as-suk-ku kup-pu-ut-ma, "If the 
head of an anomalous foetus is compacted like a sling-stone," which attracts 
several explanations. The first is assukku, "sling-stone" = ze-er-pi, the latter 
word unexplained. 3 Anticipating the equation IM.DUGUD = assukku that 
follows, he explains assukku as tittu kupput, "compacted clay," and plays 
with the roots kupputu, "to be compacted," and kabatu, "to be heavy." Then 
secondly, assukku (sling-stone) = kurbannu, "lump;" assukku, "sling-stone" 
= abnu aspu, "sling-shot." Compare Izbu Comm. 264-6: as-suk-[ku] = [a]- 
bat-ti as-pu, \u\z-zu-qu, \kir\-ban-nu; and Izbu Comm. V 264: as-[suk-ku] 
= a-bat-ti as-pu. This material stimulates quotation of a line from Ludlul, 
where the received text (i.e., BWL 56, with its own ancient explanation) reads 
Marduk sd mu-kas-si-di-ia i-kim as-pa-su as-suk-ka-su u-sah-hir, "Marduk 
took away my destroyer's sling and set aside his sling-stone;" note how the 
Uruk commentator very informally reduces "Marduk" and "my destroyer" 
to "he" and "his." 

12. The commentary gives the end of an unplaced protasis: UZU GIM g i§ KIB 
ZX-ih, i.e., siru kima salluri nasih, "the flesh is torn out like a plum(?)," but 
only touches on the reading of nasahu; the image is somehow explained in 
Izbu Comm. V 264a: lib-bu-u SIG UDU raq-qa, "it means the sheep's wool 
is fine." A related Izbu omen quoted in Izbu Comm. Z 6' reads: summa izbu 
ina muhhi qaqqadisu siru kima salluru nasi, "If an anomaly has a piece of 
flesh on top of its head like a plum," the same imagery occurs in liver omens 
in Schroeder, KUB 4 66 ii 4-5 and Labat, Suse 4 rev. 22, quoted in CAD S/l 

3 Compare perhaps zirbu (or zirpu), CAD Z 1 34, which is also only known from a commentary: 
K 4159, published by Morris Jastrow, Jr., "Assyrian Vocabularies," ZA 4 (1889) 157 no 5:6. 


On an Izbu VII Commentary 

13-14. This bilingual line follows the juxtaposition of nasahu and sakanu, 
equated with MA and thence GA: "He removes (...) and sets (it) down, but he 
finds no rest." The final words appear to involve the name of the composition, 
apparently sarru zikrutu, "King, heroism." 

15. Compare here Izbu Comm. 267-9: da-ka-su = [x]-gu-u, [...], ra-bu-[u], 
and note the alternative spelling of this root as da-ga-su, explained as ra-bu-u, 
confirming Izbu Comm. V 269a: da-kis = ra-bi. 

16-19. An otherwise unattested apodosis, quoted as si-pir tuh-du DU, which 
the Uruk commentator writes in full as si-pi-ir tu-uh-du il-lak, and glosses 
saltis, "triumphantly." The expression sipir tuhdi alaku does not seem to 
occur elsewhere, and one suspects that there might be, in fact, a textual 
misunderstanding, stemming from si-pir GABA DU.DU. At any rate, the 
known commentaries Izbu Comm. 270-1 and Comm. V 271 understand 
si-pir GABA as sipir irti. There follow two lines quoted from Ludlul I 76- 
7, in which the spelling ku-ta-at-tu-mu further confirms the new reading 
of this line given in A. R. George and F.N.H. Al-Rawi, "Tablets from the 
Sippar Library VII. Three Wisdom Texts," Iraq 60 (1998) 200, note on 
76. The writing almadu with unneeded subjunctive here is just a careless 
hypercorrection. The E or KID sign in the writing of the incipit, lud-lul EN 
<<E/LIL» ne-me-qa, is a scribal error (perhaps conditioned by the frequent 
writing of d EN.LIL?) and should not be counted among the legitimate variants 
of the line, for which see W. Horowitz and W. G. Lambert, "A New Exemplar 
of Ludlul bel nemeqi Tablet I from Birmingham," Iraq 64 (2002) 238- 

19-21. In line 19 the missing signs after ana bu-ul were probably d Sakkan. 
If this is, as it seems, the beginning of the omen that continues in line 
20 a lengthy apodosis is involved. The commentator understands IM SEG 
as sd-a-ri u zu-un-nu, "wind and rain," and then considers the expression 
ana KUR re-se-e-ti, which looks like "land of heads." The first explana- 
tion was unfortunately broken, but the second seems to imply that the ex- 
pression stands for, or is a misrepresentation of, ina re-es sat-ti. In Izbu 
Comm. V 271a-b, ana KUR re-se-e-ti is likewise explained as ina re-es 
sat-tum, perhaps suggesting that KUR is to be read sat. In the latter passage 
IM.SEG is taken as one unit meaning "rain," zunnu. At the end E stands for 

22-24. The occurrence in this unattested apodosis of the word namurratu, 
"splendour," leads to the quotation of four semantically-related entries from 
an unplaced section of Erimhus. In a conventional series tablet this passage 
would be written out as follows: 


/. L. Finkel 

IM ni pu-luh-tu 

ni-gal nam-ri-ir-ri 

su-lim sa-lum-ma-tu 

me-lam-ma me-lam-mu 

The commentator here has adopted the same "vertical" style of quotation (that 
is Si S2 S3 S4 ; A] A2 A3 A4) that occurs in the short commentary ROM 991 
on Izbu XIV (TCS 4 232-3, Commentary O). As A. Cavigneaux has pointed 
out in MSL 17 3, this arrangement reveals that "for the commentator it is 
the relationships of the Akkadian entries within a section, not the bilingual 
equations per se, that are important." 

With puluhtu = namrirru compare Izbu Comm. 272, and Comm. V 272: 
na-mur-ra-tu = pu-luh-tii4. Note that sisitu, which receives so much attention 
in Izbu Comm. 274-8 and Comm. V 274-7, must have occurred in Uruk 
between rev. 5 and 9. 

26-7. This line is TCS 4 100 line 154' = Uruk rev. 10. Compare Izbu Comm. 
237 (on this passage): pur-rii-rum, "to release," = su-up-pu-[hu], "to scatter," 
hence BUR-ra-MU here must be dittography from line 25, and emended 
accordingly. The apodosis marsit mat samsi, "goods from the east," confirms 
the writing in Uruk rev. 10, earlier emended to GAL-s; by von Weiher. 
According to IqTsa, marsitu here has the meaning "(moveable) property," 
explained as busu, although in Izbu Comm. 280, on the same passage, 
marsitu is explained as bulum, "cattle." Note that, as elsewhere, an equation 
such as Akki = Akk 2 , marsitu = busu, gives rise to a Sumerian complex, 
NIG.GAL.LA that equates both words. This represents the didactic side of 
such commentaries, where the teacher is expounding on items of information 
that will be useful in the future for the reading of omens. 

28. This line is TCS 4 100 line 154' or 156' = Uruk rev. 10 or 12. The clear 
writing shows that the beginnings of these omens must be read BAD iz-bu 
\JG\J-su qe-e-el, "If the cranium of an anomalous foetus is solid (or the like)." 
The verb qe-e-el is taken CAD Q 72 s.v. qalu (qelu), to be "solid(?)," on the 
basis of Izbu Comm. 28 1 which equates it with suppu, "solid," "massive" (of 
metals); "thick," "compacted" (of textiles) — according to CAD S 248, and 
Izbu Comm. V, where e-pi-iq (epequ, "to be solid") is equated with su-u-pi 
and qa-a-lu; see also Izbu Comm. V 281. In view of this, he-bu-u is here 
taken to reflect *habu, "thick," itemised at CAD H 1 8 and ebu, "(to be) thick," 
CAD E 16. The sequence kud-du is interpreted as an Akkadian word (CAD 
K 493 s.v.) after Ea I 25a-j (MSL 14 196) and A 1/2 1-23 (MSL 14 208), 
and Ea 1 25a-j reads: (ku-ur) LAGAB pu-un-gu-lu, qa-a-lu, e-bu-u, KI.MIN 
sd [NINDA], kab-tu, ku-uB-[B]u-tu, ku-u-ru, ku-ud-du (A 1/2 21: kud-du), 
kis-ki-bir-ru, git-ma-lu. 


On an Izbu VII Commentary 

29-30. These two lines are quoted from the series of Sidu, for which see 
the present writer in "On the Series of Sidu," ZA 76 (1986) 250-3. As 
shown there, the series is at least in part devoted to proverbs and wisdom 
literature, and attention was drawn to a comparable double quotation from 
the series in the Late Babylonian commentary MMA 86.11.109, 4 of which 
one line is known from K 4347+, the bilingual proverb collection BWL 244. 
A similar situation prevails with the extract in the present commentary, which 
is evidently a proverb, and reads: su-uh-hu-tu kur-ban-ne-e su-un-su ma-li 
sd i-qer-ru-ba-am-ma i-ni si-qa-an-ni a-ki-il-su, which may be tentatively 
translated "The cross-eyed(?)'s lap is full of clods; (he says) 'he who would 
approach me, a ... will devour him.'" It is unclear what has given rise to the 
quotation, unless the verb could be a-qe-el-su, stimulated by qe-e-el in line 
28 above; however, the morphology and meaning of a-qe-el-su cause further 
difficulties. For suhhutu see most recently J. C. Fincke, Augenleiden nach 
keilschriftlichen Quellen: Untersuchungen zur altorientalischen Medizin 
(WmF 70; Wiirzburg: Verlag Konigshausen & Neumann, 2000) 161-2, 193— 
5. The sequence i-ni si-qa-an-ni is clear on the tablet. 

3 1 . kupput, "is compacted" belongs in a protasis somewhere in Uruk between 
rev. 12 and 20. The following gloss, "affliction and loss on founding(?) wells," 
is, in contrast, unusual, but ifhurrusu derives from harasu A, and is not meant 
to be hurru, "to dig," the meaning of the verb is unclear. If the end of this line 
is correctly understood as an apodosis, there is no commentary attached to it. 

32. This line is TCS 4 100 line 164 = Uruk rev. 20. The clear writing of this 
line shows that the omen itself in Uruk rev. 20 reads as follows: BAD iz-bu 
UZU GIM su-ru-um-ma KUS ina SAG.KI-sw [GID.DA GAL], "If the flesh 
of an anomalous foetus is like a small colon(?), and the elbow is stretched(?) 
to his temple." 

33. The tablet quotes a clear SAG.GAR as equivalent to surummu, "small 
colon(?)," in contrast to the documented uzu-sa-gar-gar-ra. With surummu = 
irru, here, compare Izbu Comm. 282 (on this passage): su-ru-um-mu = ir-ri 

33-5. This unplaced omen apodosis could, but may not, follow on directly 
from the end of line 32, and reads, "the land will experience famine, and will 
follow a strong man;" for comparable apodoses, including examples in Izbu, 
see CAD E 161 s.v. bel emuqi. 

4 See now the present writer's edition of this commentary in I. Spar and W. G. Lambert, eds., 
Literary and Scholastic Texts of the First Millennium B. C. (CTMMA 2; New York: Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, 2005) 279-83, no. 69. 


/. L. Finkel 

The remainder of this entry serves to establish the correct interpretation 
of su-un-qam, and, in addition to discussing meaning, explains an unusual 
spelling of the word where KAL has the rare value suny. Again, this is 
expository classroom work and perhaps reflects consideration of the equation 
KI.KAL = dannatu. 


On an Izbu VII Commentary 

Fig. 1. Commentary on Izbu VII obv. 


/. L. Finkel 

Fig. 2. Commentary on Izbu VII rev. 



Sally M. Freedman 

This small tablet (Figs. 1 and 2) in Babylonian script provides commentary 
to Tablets 22 and 23 of the omen series Summa Alu. Measuring about four 
inches by three, it was purchased by the British Museum from a private 
individual; no provenience is known. 

The text was originally brought to my attention by C.B.F Walker of the 
British Museum during the initial stages of the project to publish Summa Alu 
that originated with Erie in the early 1970s. Irving Finkel has also studied it, 
and Erie made a working transliteration of it in 2001 . 1 thank the Trustees of 
the British Museum for permission to publish it. I would also like to thank 
Irving for making careful collations of the copies and solving a number of 
problems and Mark Geller for several helpful suggestions. 

The publication of the omen series Summa Alu has been a goal of Erie's 
for many years. It was he who suggested the idea to Ann Guinan and me 
when we were graduate students, and he has been tireless in supporting and 
encouraging the work. He made preliminary transliterations of hundreds of 
tablets in the British Museum and ordered dozens of photographs for this 
project and used his wide acquaintance in the field to secure the generous 
cooperation of senior scholars (such as W. G. Lambert, who made available to 
us his own considerable research on Summa Alu texts in the British Museum). 
As I continued to work on Summa Alu over two decades while making a living 
in another field Erie remained unflagging in his help, always ready to answer 
questions or make collations or offer suggestions. Finally he read the proofs 
of volume 1 of If a City Is Set on a Height (OPSNKF 17; Philadelphia: 
University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1998). 

Tablets 22 and 23 are the first of at least five tablets of snake omens in 
Summa Alu. They are well preserved, with seven texts and five excerpt texts 
of Tablet 22 known, and five texts and one excerpt text of Tablet 23 (to be 
published in the forthcoming vol. 2 of Freedman, If a City). Together these 
two tablets included about 205 omens, of which about 40 are referred to in the 
commentary BM 129092. Only a few of the commentary entries cannot be 
correlated with known omens; the omens associated with each commentary 
entry are indicated in the notes below, with the relevant words or passages in 

The extensive correlation with known omens makes this commentary 
more comprehensible than many, but the elliptical style is not easy to 
translate. I have used several forms of punctuation to clarify the meaning. 
Quotation marks indicate words cited verbatim from the omens. Periods 


Sally M. Freedman 

indicate the start of a new topic. In the notes, line numbers a, b, c refer to 
line segments that relate to different commentary topics. 

There is conflicting evidence for the numbering of Tablets 22 and 23 
within the Summa Alu series (see for instance KAR 386 r.43, which gives a 
number 24 for the Tablet here called 23, and KAR 389 iii 13, which gives 
the number 21 for a duplicate of the same text), but the numbers 22 and 
23 indicated on BM 129092 are consistent with the numbering of the Assur 
Catalog (KAR 407 ii 28-30; see Freedman, If a City 322). 


1 SAG.DU-sm u-har-ra-ar : x [...] 
"he should ... his head" [...] 

2 [TE].MES-5ti u-gal-lab : TEA-™ ki [. . . l]e-e-tu [. . .] x : x x [M]ES'' 

["his cheekjs he should shave." "His cheek" [...] cheeks [...] 

3 xx MES x x x [...] x x ma pu-us-qi im x [...] 
[...] suffering [...] 

4 xxx[...]rusd it-ti MUS. SAG [. . .] x SA an [. . .] 
[. . .] which with a snake head [. . .] 

5 [. . .] x IGI x T[A] s i5 NA : ina g'pNA . . .] MURUB 4 [DAM u DAM SUB] 
[. . .] x [. . .] fr[om] bed [. . .] middle [of husband and wife] 

6 MURUB 4 [. . . TATTAB].MES NU TI.MES : ib-[ru-ti ...]ul i-bal-lu-tu 
middle [. . . "Companions will not live" : com[rades . . .] they will [not] live. 

7 UKKIN u-[. . .] x-ma : GAZ : he-pu-u : suni4-ma GIG suni4-ma is-sal-la-a ' 
"Assembly [. . .] and" : kill = to break. "If he is ill, if he becomes infected" 

8 GI[G : sa-la-u : ...]-u : is-sal-la-a' : i-mar-ru-us : DIS ina "'BARA TA 

il[l = to be infected . . .]; he becomes infected = he becomes ill. "If, in 
Nisannu, between the first 

9 [EN UD.30.KAM M]US ina SILA TA ZAG LU ana GUB LU is-hur LU BI 
ina KUR KUR-£m du-lu 4 GIG TUM 

[and 30th, a s]nake in the street turns from a man's right to the man's left, 
harsh misery will carry that man into the land of his enemy." 

10 [. . . GIS.HU]R : e-se-ri sa-nis i-ti'-iq sal-sis il-lik : GISs'-' 8 . ha-as ne ? : 
Ha-ha' '-su : a la [...] 

[. . . draw]ing = to draw; alternatively, crosses; thirdly, goes. ... = ... = [...] 

11 [. . .] bi-ki-tii4 : MUS ina SILA us-te-es-bi-su : sa LU u-man-du \G\-ma MUS 
la ig-lu-ut 

[...] = weeping. "A snake distracts him in the street": which (means) a man 
stands and looks and the snake does not become restless. 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 

12 su TfiS.BI KAR-sm : TES.BI : bal-tU4 : bal-tii4 : bu-nu : KAR : e-zeb sd-nis 
su TES.BI KAR-ot 

"Deprives that one of his dignity": dignity = dignity; dignity = good looks; 
deprives = deprives, alternatively, "it deprives that one of his dignity," 

13 sd E-ii ina tup-pi ul sd-lim : ik-tap-pi-lu GU.2 AK.A : kit-pu-lu : sd GU 

as they say, it is not complete on the tablet. "They coil" doing 2 necks = they 
are coiled; which (means) they cross neck(s); 

14 sd-nis 2 MUS.MES as-sum sa-al-tU4 : 3 ITI su-nu-ti us-ta-pa-saq-ma : ina 
ITI sd ana d[a-.. . t\a-a-bi 

alternatively, two snakes refers to a fight. "He will be suffering for those three 
months, but": in the month which [...] good 

15 sd i-bir-ru-u u i-sa-am-mu-u su-u sup-su-qu : u-se-di-ma : u-sd-am-di[-i-m]a 
which (means) he will hunger and thirst; that one will be distressed. "He 
should make it known and": he should make it known [and]. 

16 u-se-e'-u-ma : KIN.KIN : si-te-e'-u : bu-u'-u : ina qi-rib EN.TE.NA : 
dan-na-tu : ku-su 

"He should seek out (Marduk) and": to seek = to seek all over = to look for. 
"In the middle of winter" : hardship = cold. 

17 ik-let nam-rat : a-na mus-ke-ni qa-bi : sd-lum-mat : bal-tii4 : du-u-tii4 : bal-tii4 
"Darkness becomes bright": said of a commoner; radiance = dignity; virility 
= dignity; 

18 [d]u-u-tU4 : bu-nu : nam-ha-ra DIR-ma : ki-ma DUG.A.GUB.BA tu-ka-ni-ma 
virility = good looks. "Fill a namharu vessel and": you set it up like a vessel 
of holy water. 

19 [DIS x] x MU§ GAZ-ma Tl-ma ana SA DU 6 TU : sd MUS i-du-ku-ma 
is-su-u iq-bi-ri : TI la-qu-u 

["If . . .] kills a snake and carries it and goes inside a mound": which killed the 
snake and carried (it and) buried (it)(?); to take = to take. 

20 [x x i\b-lut-ma ana SA DU 6 TU : TI : ba-la-tu : NIG.SU-to DU-ot KIMIN 
DUMU-sm KU : NIG.SU-™ DU-sw : 

["x x l]ives and goes inside a mound": to live = to live. "He will 'do' 
valuables for himself; alternatively, he will eat his young": will 'do' valuables 
for himself = 

21 [NIG.S]U-s« iz-zib-su : DU : e-ze-bu : DUMU-sm KU : bu-su-su ik-kal : 
DUMU : bu-su-u 

[His valuables will leave him; to do = to leave. "Will eat his young": will 
consume his valuables; young = valuables. 

22 [x x x] si rim : lem-nu : us-ta-ha-ma : u-si-ih-ma : HAR-ta : su-a-tu : ina 
qi-rib GABA-sw 

[x x x] . . . = bad; ... = . . . ; that = that. "In the middle of his chest" 


Sally M. Freedman 

23 [x x] sd ma-dis ina muh-hi-su i-ku-su : im-sur : im-sur : il-lik : i-tak-kal : 
DU.DU : it-ku-lu 

[x x] which (means) it moves a lot in front of him. Dithers = drags = goes. 
"Eats itself": goes about = to eat itself; 

24 [DU.D]U : mit-hu-su : DIS MUS ana bu-di NA SUB-ut mu-kil ku-tdl-li NA 
UG7 : bu-di : ku-tal-la 

[x] to go about = to grapple. "If a snake falls onto a man's shoulders, the 
man's supporter will die": shoulder = back; 

25 [mu-k]il ku-tdl-li NA : ku-tal : MUS. d MUS : ni-ra-hu : MUS SU.II NU GAR 
ma-gal dr-ki a man's [supjporter = back. "Snake-god snake": little snake; a 
snake with no hands; much after(?) 

22 of If a City Is Set on a Height, not complete 

27 [DIS MU]S ana UGU NA sd di-na gi-ru-u SUB-m? di-in-su GID.DA GAL : 
is-bur-ma : is-si-ma 

"[If a snake] falls on top of a man who is engaged in a lawsuit, his lawsuit 
will be long." "Chatters and": cries out and; 

28 [MUSEN] ZI.ZI : sa-bar sd is-sur : MUSEN ZI.ZI : si-si-tu sd is-sur : U4-mi 
ri-qi : UD.29.KAM 

[bird] chatter = chattering of a bird; bird chatter = call of a bird. Distant day = 
the 29th day (of the month) 

29 [sd . . .] r x n d 30 la u-su-uz-zu : DIS MUS NA IGl-ma GAZ-sii NA BI 
a-di-ra-tu-su NU TE.MES-.™ 

[which (means) . . .] Sin, he does not stand. "If a snake sees a man and he kills 
it, misfortunes will not approach that man" : 

30 [. . .]-na-a-ku ta-a-bu IGI-ma i-duk : as-sum UD.20.KAM sd iti GU4 

[. . .] sees a good [. . .] and kills (it), refers to the 20th day of the month Ayaru 


1 [...]: si-gu-u D\JG4-si-ma NAM. TAR x [ . . . ] x x 
[...]= recites a lamentation and destiny [. . .] 

2 [. .. gi-na]-a DU.A.BI : U4-mu ma-la d UTU nap-hi 

[... "Constantly and everywhere": (all) day as long as the sun is visible. 

3 [. .. u-hab]-ba-ab : ha-ba-bu : ha-sa-nu : ha-ba-bu : na-sd-qa 
[... "Ca]resses": to caress = to protect; to caress = to kiss; 

4 [x] x x mi na-ds-kun ri-gim : MUS rit-ti GAR-ma GIM UR.MAH i-ram-mu- 

[...] a sound is established. "Snake has a paw and roars like a lion": 

5 ri-gim : sd-kin-ma : ri-it-tu : ri-gim : ana SA DUR TU : a-na SA mi-ih-si 
sd-nis (erasure) 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 

sound = is established and; . . . = sound. "He will go inside the residence" = 
inside a . . . ; alternatively, 

6 [a]-sar si-si-ti sak-na-tf : EN.DIB.BI SAG.TUK ba-ld-ti TUK-« : mu-kil 
re-es ba-la-tu TUK-sz : ha-ti-ti 

where cries are established. "He will have a life-giving spirit": he will have a 
life-giving spirit. "Wickedness": 

7 [l]e-mut-tu : HUL UZU.MES ha-tu-tu 4 par-du-tu HUL.MES NU 
DUG.GA.MES : GUB.GUB-az : sd u-su-uz-zu-ma la zak-ku-u 

evil = evil of omens (that are) wrong, confused, evil, not good. "He will 
repeatedly stand": which (means) he will stand but will not be cleared. 

8 [DIS] MUS ina E LIT SUB-ma DUDU-a/t : sd a-na DU 6 .MES u E.MES la 
ir-ru-bu : e-zib is-tak-na : 

["If] a snake falls into a man's house and goes around": which (means) it does 
not enter mounds or houses; otherwise, is stationary, 

9 [s]d ina E LIJ ul-la-du : BTJN.BUN-aA : u-nap-pa-ah : i-ziz-es : e-zi-zi-is 
[whi]ch (means) gives birth in a man's house. "Hisses": hisses. "Like an 
angry one" (?) = like an angry one, 

10 [s]d ez-zi-is i-sd-as-su-u sd-nis sd sd-qi-is i-sd-as-su-u : ana kis-sd-tii4 : ana 

which (means) it cries out angrily; alternatively, it cries out aloud. "As 
payment of a debt" = as compensation. 

1 1 \u\p-ta-nar-rad : sd '"ERIN.MES ina bi-ri a-ha-mes u-par-ra-du as-sum 
ga-la-tu 4 sd "ERIN.MES 

"It persistently causes fear": which (means) workers are causing fear among 
themselves; refers to the fright of workers; 

12 [x u]p-ta-nar-rad : up-ta-na-al-ldh : DIS MUS ina E NA s i§ IG s i5 SAG.KUL 

persistently causes fear = persistently causes fright. "If a snake circles the 
door (or) latch in a man's house and 

13 [a-n]a BAD-e NU SUM-w E BI DAGAL-w KIMIN SUB-di : ana kab-tu 
dum-qi ana MAS.EN.KAK lum-nu 

does not allow it [to] open, that house will expand; alternatively, it will be 
abandoned": (that is,) for a noble, (it is) good; for a commoner, bad; 

14 [as-s]um su-tuk-ku dan-nu-tU4 sd d NIN.GIR.ZI.DA : su-tuk-ku : sik-kat : DIS 
MUS.MES GIL.MES : [it]-gu-ru-tu 

[refjers to the strong reed huts of Ningiszida; reed hut = peg. "If snakes are 
crosswise": [enjtwined. 

15 dul-lam : hu si ri : DIS MUS ina E LU bu-'u-ra Y)\J-us : sd mim-ma sd kap-pi 
sag [...]-ru 

Misery = .... "If a snake makes a hole in a man's house": which (means) 
something of the wing [...] 


Sally M. Freedman 

16 i-dam-mu-um : sd si-si-ti : ma-a-du : dul-la : bi-ki-tU4 : dul-la : ta-ne-hi 
"Is murmuring" : which (means) a cry. Much = misery; crying = misery, 

17 gi-nam-ma : ka-a-a-ni-is : DIS MUS ina E LU IGI : sd GIR.MES-™ 

Constantly = continually. "If a snake is seen in a man's house": which 
(means) it makes his feet go out. 

18 sa-da-ru : ka-a-a-nu : AN.TA : tap-pu-u : DIS MUS MUNUS ina a-sur-re-e 
ina la e-de-e 

"To be regular ": to be continual. "Friend": companion. "If a woman catches 
a snake unaware in the base course of masonry 

19 DIB-su-ma BAR-su MUNUS BI DINGIR TUK-s; sd E-w as-sum MUS u 
MUNUS ud tim su-nu 

and cuts it in two, that woman will be lucky": as they say, refers to the snake 
and the woman, their . . . 

20 DIS MUS ana E LU KU 4 sd ina UKKIN UN.MES ana E LU i-ru-bu : 
MUD-sm : u-gal-lit-su 

"If a snake enters a man's house," which (means) entered a man's house 
during an assembly of people. Frightens him = frightens him. 

21 DIS MUS ina UGU s i5 NA LU NA-b : sd ir-bi-su-ma la it-bu-u : KU-su-nu : 
as x [x] 

"If a snake lies on top of a man's bed": which (means) lies down and does not 
get up; their ... = [...] 

22 sa-a-tu su-ut pi-i u mas-a-a-al-tu sd KA um-man-nu sd SA <DIS> ina 
MBARA UD.l.KAM la-a[m] 

Citations, commentary and queries from scholars, relating to the content of 
"If, on the first of Nisannu, before 

23 LU GIR-sm ana KI GAR-ww u DIS MUS ana UGU NA sd di-na ge-ru-ii 

a man has put his foot onto the ground" and "If a snake fal[ls] onto a man 
who is engaged in a lawsuit" 

24 23 mdl-su-ut DIS URU ina SUKUD GAK-in NU AL.TIL DIS MUS ina 
UGU g i§ 7.NA'' [NA NA-«] 

23rd reading of If a City is Set on a Height, not complete. "If a snake [lies] on 
a man's bed." 

Tablet written by Na'id-Enlil, son of Samas-ahhe-iddin, son of . . . 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 



1-4. See Tablet 22 omen 1: 

DIS ina it; BARA UD.l.KAM NA la-am TA s i§ NA GIR-™ a«a KI GAR-«w 
MUS TA HABRUDDA E-ma la-am ma-am-man IGI LU IGI ina SA MU BI 
UG 7 sum 4 -ma LU BI TI.LA ha-sih SAG.DU u-har-ra-ar TE.MES-.vh u-gal-lab 
ITI.3.KAM us-ta-pa-ds-saq-ma Tl-ut 

If on the first of Nisannu, before a man has put his foot out of bed onto the ground, 
a snake comes out of a hole and, before anyone sees it, it sees the man, he will 
die during that year; if that man wishes to live, he should ... his head, shave his 
cheeks, (and) he will be suffering for three months but he will live. 

It is not certain whether it is the snake who sees the man or the man 
who sees the snake in this omen and other omens where the main verb 
is IGI. I have chosen to assume that the snake is the subject, follow- 
ing the most common word order of subject-object- verb, unless there is 
a compelling reason to translate otherwise (as in lines 29b-30 below, for 

The meaning ofhararu is not known; citing this passage CAD H 91 says 
the term refers "to some expression or act of mortification." Finkel suggests 

There are traces in the upper right corner of the tablet that I have not 
been able to read and I have not tried to indicate them all with x's in the 
transliteration. Finkel's collations show traces of SAG.DU (perhaps twice) 
in the middle of line 1. 

2. Collation confirms TE.A for TE.MES. 

5a. See Tablet 22 omen 1 1 : 

Dig ina MBARA TA UD.l.KAM EN UD.30.KAM MU§ ana ZAG LU SUB-ut 
NA BI GIZKIM s iS NA DIB-.s M -ma E BI BIR-ah 

If, between the first and 30th of Nisannu, a snake falls to a man's right, an omen 
of bed will afflict that man, and his house will be dispersed. 

5b-6. See Tablet 22 omen 13: 



Sally M. Freedman 

If, between the first and 30th of Nisannu, a snake falls between husband and wife, 
companions will not survive; that house will be destroyed. 

Finkel says collation shows r ib-ru-tP. 

7a. See Tablet 22 omen 14: 


If, between the first and 30th of Nisannu, a snake falls in the middle of an 
assembly, the assembly will be destroyed; it will not prosper. 

7b-8a. See Tablet 22 omen 16: 

suni4-ma GIG Sumj-ma is-sal-la-a '-ma UG7 

If, between the first and 30th of Nisannu, a snake sees a man in the street, if he 
becomes ill (or) infected, he will die. 

8b-9. See Tablet 22 omen 17: 

LU ana GUB LU is-hur LU BI ina KUR KVR-sii du-lu 4 GIG TUM 

If, between the first and 30th of Nisannu, a snake in the street turns from a man's 
right to the man's left, harsh misery will carry that man off in the land of his 

It is probable that sala'u should be restored after GIG; there is room in the 
break for a repetition of this word or a synonym. 

10. 1 cannot read the end of this line. Finkel is uncertain of the second HA 
at the end of the line and suggests ha-ma-su, noting the lexical equivalence 
(ha-as). KUD = ha-ma-su cited in CAD H 61; the meaning of this word is 

ll-13a. See Tablet 22 omen 19: 

DIS ina mbARA TA UD.l.KAM EN UD.30.KAM MUS ina SILA us-te-es-bi- 
su-ma TES.BI KAR-sii SlG 5 -ti 

If, between the first and 30th of Nisannu, a snake distracts him in the street and 
deprives him of his dignity, it is favorable. 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 

CAD B 144 states, "The word bastu [or baltu] does not denote sexual 
parts or sexual power" and asserts that TES.BI in this context should be read 
dussu, from diltu, "virility," but this commentary clearly equates baltu and 
dutu (see also lines 17-18 below). 

12. While sanis, "alternatively," is used here to indicate another alternative, 
ezib is used in r. 8. 

13b-14a. See Tablet 22 omen 20: 

DIS ina M BARA TA UD.l.KAM EN UD.30.KAM MUS.MES ina E LU ik-tap- 
pi-lu EN E BI UG 7 

If, between the first and 30th of Nisannu, snakes coil around each other in a man's 
house, the owner of that house will die. 

14b-16a. See Tablet 22 omen 21: 

DIS ina ZAG.MUK ina iti BARA UD.l.KAM lu ina M GU 4 UD.l.KAM lu ina 
kal U4-mi lu ina kal G\(, MUS NA IGI LU BI ina SA MU BI UG7 suni4-ma 
NA BI TI.LA ha-sih SAG.DU u-har-ra-dr TE.MES-iM u-gal-lab 3 ITI.MES M- 
nu-ti us-ta-pa-saq-ma Tl-ut KIMIN ti-bu kas-da NA BI ina A.GU.ZI.GA ana 
u-se-e'-ii-ma HUL-to DUg LU BI ina PAP.HAL u KI.KAL E 

If, at the New Year on the first of Nisannu or on the first of Ayaru or all day or 
all night, a snake sees a man, that man will die in that year; if that man wishes to 
live, he should ... his head, shave his cheeks; he will be suffering for those three 
months, but he will live; alternatively, a successful uprising; that man should 
make it known to Marduk in the morning and it will be favorable; alternatively, 
he will experience harsh detention; that man should seek out Marduk and the evil 
for him will be dispelled; that man will escape from straits and hardship. 

16b. See Tablet 22 omen 33: 

DUMU.ME-S-M NIG.§U-«l-na ana KI.LAM E-a 

If in Sabatu, in the middle of winter, a man sees a snake in the city square, the 
people will send away their children (or) their property for a price. 

17a. See Tablet 22 omen 34: 

DIS ina ili SE NA MUS IGI [. . . i]k-let nam-rat 

If a man sees a snake in Addaru, darkness will become light. 


Sally M. Freedman 

For the phrase ana x qabi, "said of x" or "referring to x," used in 
explicating omens, see CAD Q 29. 

17b-18b. See Tablet 22 omen 36: 

DIS NA MUS IGl-ma GA[Z-su ...]sd S\]-a\p . . .] x id [. . .] x sa SIG 4 LU i-tab-bal 
A PU sa E d AMARUTU V\JG.nam-ha-ra DIR-ma KU.BABBAR x x [. . .] A PU 
ana SA SUB-ma [...] x BAD ina A.GU.ZI.GA TU s -ma NAM.BURBI 

If a man sees a snake and kills [it ... ] cover [...] the man should take a brick, 
fill a namharu vessel (with) well water from the temple of Marduk and [...] 
silver, [...] well water, tamarisk, mastakal-plant, datepalm shoots, salalu-reed, 
[...], saltwort, throw into (it), and [. . .] wash in the morning, and its evil will be 
dispelled [literally: its dispelling (will be accomplished)]. 

19-21. These lines probably refer to Tablet 22 omen 43 or 44, of which only 
a sign or two is preserved. 

22-23a. These lines probably refer to Tablet 22 omen 46 ([DIS MUS ... 
gi§N]A NA [...]) or possibly 47 ([DIS MUS ...] ina muh-hi SAG.DU N[A 
...G]AZ-£mNABI [...]). 

It is not clear what the verb is. CAD cites a sdhu A, "to grow" and a sdhu 
B, "to blow(?)" (the latter equated with alaku in lexical texts), but neither is 
attested in the relevant forms. 

Finkel notes that su-a-tu is written over an erasure. 

23b. See Tablet 22 omen 55: 

[DIS MU]S ana IGI NA im-sur te-su-u 

[If a sn]ake wriggles in front of a man — confusion. 

23b-24a. See Tablet 22 omen 58: 

[DIS MUS] ana IGI NA i-tak-kal Zl-bu kas-du 

[If a snake] eats itself in front of a man — a successful uprising. 

24b-25a. See Tablet 22 omen 70: 

DIS MUS ana bu-di NA SUB-«* mu-kil ku-tal LU BA.UG 7 

If a snake falls onto a man's shoulders, the man's supporter will die. 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 

25b. Extant texts of T.22 preserve nineteen more omens, complete to the 
colophon, but none refers to a MUS. d MUS. 

This line curves around the tablet so that the last sign is obscured by the 
last sign of r.7; however, it seems to be KI. It is not clear how to read the end 
of this line. Perhaps it is an elliptical reference to more that was written on 
the original tablet after this omen. 

26. There is a long blank space before the number 22 and no KAM fol- 
lowing. See r.24 for the number 23 without DUB before or KAM after- 

27a. See Tablet 23 omen 1 : 

[DIS MUS ana UGU N] A sd di-na gi-ru-u SVB-ut di-in-su GID.DA GAL 

[If a snake] falls [on top of a m]an who is engaged in a lawsuit, his lawsuit will 
be long. 

Since there is no commentary on this line, it is probably just cited as the 
incipit of the relevant Tablet. 

27b-28a. See Tablet 23 omen 6: 

DIS MUS is-bur-ma LU sd di-na gi-ru-u x [. . .] GAL-™ 

If a snake "chatters" and [ . . .] a man who is engaged in a lawsuit, [...]; there will 
be [...] for him. 

Also Tablet 23 omen 7: 

DIS MUS is-bur-ma NA u-gal-lit GIG DIB-.j[m . . .] 

If a snake "chatters" and frightens a man, illness will afflict him; there will be 
[...] for him. 

CAD S 3 translates isbur as "sways," when referring to a snake, but this 
commentary understands it as a sound. 

This line is cited in CAD S/3 123, lexical section, as BM 129092:29. 

28b-29a. See Tablet 23 omen 8: 

DIS MUS NA ina u 4 -mi ri-qi IGI na-za-qu NU DUGGA NA BI SU KUR-su 

If a snake sees a man on a distant day — trouble; it will not be happy; [. . .] for the 
man; the hand (of a god) will affect that man. 


Sally M. Freedman 

The restoration of set at the beginning of the line is suggested by usuzzu, 
which may be subjunctive. 

29b-30. See Tablet 23 omen 9: 

DIS MUS NA IGl-ma GAZ-su NA BI a-di-ra-tu-su NU TE.MES-wi MUS BI 


If a snake sees a man and he kills it, misfortunes will not approach that man; that 
snake, evil [...] 

Word order would imply that the snake is the subject of GAZ, but this would 
not make much sense, as the man would no longer be alive to experience the 


2. See Tablet 23 omen 12: 

DIS MUS gi-na-a DU.A.BI ana IGI NA ip-ta-na-rik x KA-ot LA-ti 

If a snake constantly and everywhere is lying crosswise in front of a man, [...] 
he will be humiliated. 

For the idiom pdsu muttu (literally, "to make his mouth small"), see Leichty, 
Izbu 59 n.5 1 and CAD M/l 434. 

2-3. There are five or six signs missing at the beginning of these lines. 

3-4a. See Tablet 23 omen 14: 

DIS MUS NA u-hab-ba-ab s[i ? . . .] SA.SA 
If a snake caresses a man, [...] will affect [...] 

4b-5a. See Tablet 23 omen 27: 

DIS MUS rit-ti GAR-ma GIM UR.MAH i-ram-mu-u[m] DIB xtix [. . . z\e-nu-ti 

If a snake has a paw and roars like a lion, [. . . alngry [. . .] 

The sign GIM is clear in three places, but the reading rigmu, "sound" is 
difficult to understand in this context. Perhaps this sign should be read 
differently. The word rittu in the commentary is otherwise unknown. 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 

5b-6a. See Tablet 23 omen 40: 

[DIS] MUS ana UGU SAL.US NA SUB-w* ana SA DUR su-a-tu 4 TU ana ITI 

[If] a snake falls onto a man's sekertu, he will go inside that residence; for that 
month he will be happy. 

The SAL.US, sekertu, is a high-ranking female of the court or a rich man's 
harem (see discussion CAD S 217). The reading DUR, subtu, "residence," is 
not certain but may plausibly refer to the quarter where the sekertu lives. The 
commentary, however, seems to be reading KU as something else. Context 
implies that mihsu is a building — or at least a location. Perhaps it is related 
to the nuance of "plowed land" cited in CAD M/2 62 or the bit mihsi cited 
on the same page. 

6b. See Tablet 23 omen 41: 

[DIS] MUS ana UGU b> 5 [GU].ZA NA be-ri-su-nu SUB-ma NA-w EN.DIB 
SAG.TUK ba-ld-ti [TUK-si] 

[If] a snake falls onto a chair between them and lies down, [he will have] a 
life-giving spirit. 

Unlike the mukil res damiqti and mukil res lemutti, which often occur in 
omen apodoses and magical texts, the mukil res balati is unknown to me. 
Geller says that EN.DIB is used for mukilu in magical texts. 

6c and 7a. This entry probably refers to one of the broken apodoses of Tablet 
23 omens 42 through 45. 

8-9a. Though E LU is clear on the tablet, compare Tablet 23 omen 49: 

[DIS] MUS ina E BARA SUB-ma DU.DU-aA [. . .] BI UG 7 

[If] a snake falls into the dais in a house and goes around, that [. . .] will die. 

Ezib, "besides, otherwise," indicates an alternative explanation (see line 12, 
where sanis is used). 

9a probably continues the explanation of omen 49, since it cannot be corre- 
lated with any of the omens on Tablet 23 between 49 and 53. The restoration 
sd at the beginning of the line is suggested by ulladu, which appears to be 


Sally M. Freedman 
9b. See Tablet 23 omen 53: 

DI§ MU§ ina E LU GU.GU-s; : BUN-h/j US ina E LU UG 7 E BI BIR-ah 

If a snake repeatedly cries out / hisses in a man's house, someone mortally ill will 
die in the man's house; that house will be dispersed. 

One text of this omen, Si 732:7 (unpublished), is broken after BUN; it 
may have included a second BUN, like the commentary. The other text, 
KAR 386:51, has only one BUN. 

9c-10a. See Tablet 23 omen 54: 

DIS MUS ina E LU ib-be-es GU.GU-s/ SUB-e E 

If a snake persistently cries out ... in a man's house — abandonment of the house. 

It is not clear how the omen should be read. The explanation in the com- 
mentary reflects an exotic spelling i-ziz(BE)-es, but this spelling is not found 
on either extant text of Tablet 23 (KAR 386:52 has ib-be-es and Si 732:8 
(unpublished) has i-bi-es). There is probably an error here. 

10b. See Tablet 23 omen 56: 

DIS MUS ina E LU U4-me-sam GU.GU-s/ E BI ana kis-sd-ti KUR SID-mm 

If a snake persistently cries out in a man's house every day, that house will be 
handed over as a payment of a debt to an enemy. 

ll-12a. See Tablet 23 omen 57: 

DIS MUS ina E LU up-ta-nar-rad E BI SUB-di lu in-na-qar 

If a snake persistently causes fear in a man's house, that house will be abandoned 
or demolished. 

Although the context of the omen is not military, ^ERIN.MES in the com- 
mentary might refer to soldiers. 

12b-14a. See Tablet 23 omen 59: 

DIS MUS ina E LU &HG g i§ SAG.KUL NIGIN-ma ana BAD-e NU SUM-im E 

If a snake circles the door (or) latch in a man's house and does not allow it to 
open, that house will expand; alternatively, it will be abandoned. 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 

14b-15a. This line probably refers to an omen in the broken section of 
Tablet 23 omens 75-77, but not enough of these omens is preserved to be 
sure. The signs HU SI RI are clear, but I do not know the word. The spelling 
of the deity's name might represent a confusion of Ningirsu and Ningiszida, 
but the expression sutukku dannutu sa Ningiszida occurs in other contexts; 
see CAD S/3 412. The writing d NIN.GIR.ZI.DA appears in TCL 6 47:14, 
J. Nougayrol, "Textes et documents figures," RA 4 1 ( 1 947) 35:10, and George, 
Topographical Texts 158 v 16 (= SpTU 2 29 ii 16); F.A.M. Wiggermann, 
"Nin-giszida," RIA 9 368, suggests that dNIN.GIR.ZI.DA is probably a 

15b. See Tablet 23 omen 81: 

DIS MUS ina E NA bu-u-ra DU-hs SUB-e E 

If a snake makes a hole in a man's house, downfall of the house. 

16. See Tablet 23 omen 84: 

DIS MUS [ina E N]A i-dam-mu-um NA BI ki-la i-ma-al-la 

If a snake is murmuring [in a man's house], that man will go to prison. 

17a. See Tablet 23 omen 83: 

DIS MUS ina E NA \gi-n\am-ma KA E [DUJA.BI i-tab-bal sum 4 -ma EN E BI 
UG 7 

If a snake is constantly in a man's house and takes everything out the door of the 
house, if it is the owner of that house, he will die. 

17b-18a. See Tablet 23 omen 88: 

[DIS MUS ina] E NA IGI [. . .] sa-da-ru 

[If a snake] is seen [in] a man's [ho]use, [...] will be regular. 

18b. See Tablet 23 omens 98-100. 

[DIS MUS ina] E NA AN.TA-™ i-lu-ut E BI BIR-ah su-bat-su E.GAL SUB-* 

[If a snake in] a man's house swallows its companion, that house will be dispersed; 
the palace will abandon its residential area. 

[DIS MUS ina] E NA AN.TA-to GAZ KUR-arf A.AS 

[If a snake in] a man's house kills its companion — attainment of a wish. 


Sally M. Freedman 

DIS MUS ina E NA AN.TA-™ KU SUB-at EN KA-M IGl-mar 

If a snake in a man's house eats its companion, he will see the downfall of his 

18c-19. See Tablet 23 omen 105: 

DIS MUS MUNUS ina a-sur-ri-e ina la mu-di-e DIB-su-ma BAR-sii MUNUS 

If a woman catches a snake unaware in the base course of masonry and cuts it in 
two, that woman will be lucky. 

The signs UD TIM at the end of the line are clear, but the UD seems to be 
written over an erasure. Noting the small wedge before UD, Finkel says the 
sign is "not NA, but maybe something has got lost." 

20. See Tablet 23 omen 106: 

[DIS] MUS ana E NA TU-/m« u-gal-lit-su-ma is-suk-su E BI AL.BIR sum 4 -ma 

[If] a snake enters a man's house and frightens him and bites him, that house will 
be dispersed; if it is a poor man, he will acquire (goods). 

21. See Tablet 23 omen 111: 

If a snake lies on top of a man's bed, that man's god will make him famous. 

24. The signs at the end of this line are abraded but they probably refer to 
the incipit of Tablet 24: DIS MUS ina UGU g«NA NA NA-w DAM NA 
snake lies on top of a man's bed the man's wife will be distracted and sell 
her children for money." See Freedman, If a City 1 330. 


BM 129092: A Commentary on Snake Omens 




illegible traces 


_ ^^M^FTi-^f&T ^_ 


Fig. 1. BM 129092 obv. 


Sally M. Freedman 




to 1 




— -5T 


a- 4 -.) 

4 $ 

Fig. 2. BM 129092 rev. 



M.J. Geller 

When I first began reading tablets in the Students' Room of the British 
Museum, I met Erie during the summers when he was engaged in the 
monumental task of cataloguing the Sippar collection. When Erie learned 
that I was interested in incantations, he kindly gave me his hand-list with 
numbers of all incantations and related texts that he had identified. This 
single act of generosity made a great difference, enabling me to work on 
unpublished tablets in the British Museum, since at that time one could only 
request tablets by tablet number. Erie's kindness and helpfulness was known 
to everyone who worked in the Students' Room, and the publication of the 
Sippar catalogues has transformed the field of Assyriology in recent years. I 
am pleased to offer a small contribution to honour an esteemed colleague. 1 
During a research visit to Philadelphia in 1988, 1 came across the follow- 
ing two interesting tablets for which I have not found any duplicates in the 
intervening years. The problem with small tablets of this kind containing 
only a single recipe or incantation, is that without much context it is often 
difficult to determine whether the tablets are school texts for practice or 
prescriptions for praxis. 

CBS 8680 (Fig. 1) 

1 [ . . . sim L]I g i§ EREN SUMUN §™GIG [ . . . ] 

2 [ . . . s i§ ]LAGAB.MUN'' LUDU [ . . . ] 

3 [x U.MES a\n-nu-tu 4 na-as-mat-ti MURUB4-[™ GIG . . .] 

(blank line) 

4 [Dig NA Dl]Bl-it sili 'to(LIL) is-li-it-su &[ . . .] 

5 [x] x GAZI^ "KUR.RA §im LI "NU.LU.HtA . . . ] 

6 [. . .] r QA? n ta-si-i *™qad-dis(7) "BABBAR 1 1 r U n .[MES SES.MES ina-es] 

rev. uninscribed 

1 [. . . junjiper, old cedar, kanaktu [...], 

2 [...] lumps of salt(?), fat; 

1 I would also like to thank I. L. Finkel and F. A. M. Wiggermann for suggesting readings, and 
Tzvi Abusch and Daniel Schwemer for supplying a duplicate that improves the readings of 
CBS 1720. 


M.J. Geller 

3 apply these [(x number of) drugs] as a bandage for [his sick] loins [. . .] 

4 [If a man is stri]cken and sili 'tu has "split" him, ... [. . .] 

5 [...]..., kasu, ninu, juniper, nuhurtu, [...], 

6 [...]..., asu, ..., "white" plant, [apply these] 11 drugs [and he will improve]. 


The reverse of this tablet is uninscribed, which probably indicates that it 
is a school exercise tablet rather than an actual medical prescription. For 
similar such texts, cf. I.L. Finkel, "On Late-Babylonian Medical Training," 
in Studies Lambert 137—223. 

Line 1 . The recipe probably begins with a plant name, without the usual DIS 
NA heading with a symptom, since there is only room for two or three signs 
at the beginning of the line. Many examples of such recipes can be found in 
the medical corpus, e.g. BAM 95 rev. 31-3. 

Line 4. This line is difficult since, if correctly understood, it appears to 
be a pun on the disease sili 'tu and the verb salatu, "to split," although no 
etymological relationship has yet been established between the disease name 
and this verb. The logogram LIL for sili 'tu is attested in medical literature 
(see CAD S 263), although not with the verb salatu. 

Line 6. Cleaning and collation (courtesy M. T Rutz) have resulted in im- 
proved readings. Three well-formed wedges are preserved at the beginning 
of the line; however, the reading r QA ?n remains tentative due to the break. 
The U of ^a-si-i is no longer in doubt. The reading ~ sim qdd-dis is speculative, 
since no such plant name is attested, although the word qaddis, "bowed, 
bent," appears as a symptom in one medical text (AMT 86, 1 ii 16); see 
CAD Q 47. The fact that the form of the GADA sign more closely resembles 
its OB / MB form might reflect the Vorlage if this tablet is indeed a school 
exercise tablet. Alternatively, one might read §im HAB ! (= turu), although the 
sign in line 6 is much different from the HAB sign that appears in line 2 (as 

CBS 1720 (Fig. 2) 

1 [siptu(EN) at-t]a Hmhur(\G\)-lim sam-mu sa ina mah-ri asu(E-u) 

2 \mu-p\a-ds-si-ru ka-la'-ma e-li<-nu> qim-mat-su 

3 [ina same(AN-e) ba-n\a-at sap-la-na sur-su-su qaq-[qa-r]a ma/z5(DIRI.GA) 
-mur-ka] kas-sap-tu 4 i- r sa-am pa-nu'-sd 

.] w-[x] x is-li-ma sapfa(NUNDUN n )-5a 

.] x x x-a-te he-ep-pi x x x 

.] inapanHJGl) amari(IGl)-sd ana sd-ki-ni-su ip-sd [bar-ta] 


4 [|. 

5 [. 

6 [. 

7 [. 

Practice or Praxis 

8 [amat(imM)] r lemutti(WLy zera(HUL.GIG) di-pal-a ZI.[KUR.RU.DA] 

9 [KA.DIB.BE.DA] sinit temi(DlMA KUR.RA) la'- u- x [. . .] 

10 [ina qi-bit d e-a] <l samas(lJTlJ) u d mara?M&(AMAR.UTU) u ru-ba-a-t[i & belet 

11 [ . . . miikIl(D]AB) ras(SAG) lemutti(MLWL-ti) e- v li x x n 

12 [... kassapti(M]l.\jS u .ZU)-ia s 

1 3 [KA-INIM-MA] US 1 1 . [BU]R.RU.DA.KAM 


14 [DU.DU.BI ina salmi(AL]AN) fwm(DUR) pusikki(SiG. r GA.ZUM\AK.A) 
tatamm/(NU.NU) 7 nfee(KES-KES) 

1 5 [o«s/tt;(SIG.GA.ZUM. A]K A) kirissi(^KlRlD) 
pusikki( r SlG\GA.ZUM.AK.A) talammi(NIGIN) sipta(EN) sd UDUG.HUL 

16 [tamannu(SID-nu) . . .] x kis-pi NU TE.MES-™ 


1 [Incantation.] You, O imhurlim-p\ant\ — a plant that appeared first — 

resolve everything. Its crown 

is beautiful [in heaven] above, and its roots below fill the earth. 

the witch [looked at you] : her face has become flushed, 
5 [ . . . ] her lips have turned black. 


[...] in her (i.e., the witch) looking personally at one who wears it (the 

imhurllm-plant), witchcraft, [rebellion], 

slander, hatred, corruption, "cutting off of breath," 

[seizure of the mouth], (or) deranged thoughts should not [(affect him)]. 
10 [At the command of Ea], Samas, and Marduk and divine consort [Belet-ili,] 

[. . .] and Supporter of Evil over . . . 

[...] my witch. 

[Incantation] for breaking a spell. 

[Its ritual: on] a figurine, spin a binding of combed wool, wrap (it) with 7 
15 of [combed wool] (and) a needle for the combed wool, [recite] the incantation 
of Udug-hul 
[. . .] so that the spells will not continually approach him. 


In keeping with normative conventions for editing incantations, normalized 
Akkadian is given for the logograms employed in CBS 1720. 


M.J. Geller 

Line 1 . The first word is restored after K 8 1 22 + K 9666 (courtesy T. Abusch 
and D. Schwemer). For the use of plants in usburruda incantations, see 
T. Abusch, Mesopotamian Witchcraft (AMD 5; Leiden: Brill/Styx, 2002) 
85-6, 2 where he argues that sammu as "plant" or "drug" can refer to the 
magic employed by the witch as well as to curative drugs, so that sammu 
was actually synonymous with witchcraft. In the present text, however, the 
imhurlim-plant is purely therapeutic, used against witchcraft. 

Line 2. The first word is restored after K 8122 + K 9666. "Resolving ev- 
erything" refers to being able to counteract aggressive magic. For similar 
passages referring to the "crown" of a tree, cf. CAD S/3 363 and CAD Q 
253. The LA-sign in this line resembles the same sign in 1. 9 

Line 3. For similar imagery, cf. CAD S/3 364. 

Line 4. Restored after K 8122+K 9666. 

Line 7. For restoration, cf. Maqlu IV 13—4. The translation of ina IGI IGI is 
uncertain, since one could also consider reading ina mahar(IGl) pani(IGl)- 
sd; the sign before IGI IGI does not appear to be U. The translation of 
sd-ki-ni-su is based upon the use of sakanu in reference to one who wears 
an object (such as a cylinder seal) around his neck or places an amulet or 
an object on his body, see CAD S/l 123^4. Examples of this usage come 
from the medical corpus, such as the MA tablet BAM 194, in which each 
section of vol. vii begins NA4 GAR-ra, "(if) he wears an (amulet) stone." 
The supposition here is that the s«-suffix on the participle sakinu refers to 
the imhurlim-plant, and that wearing this plant offers protection from the 

Line 10. For the restoration, cf. Maqlu V 10 and 138, a common doxology. 

Line 15. The reference to an "incantation of Udug-hul" would presumably 
refer to a specific Udug-hul incantation (from the series) that was to be 
used with usburruda incantations. Alternatively, the incipit of the incantation 
could be EN sd UDUG.HUL, although such an incipit is unknown to 

2 [Editors' note: see also T. Abusch in the present volume.] 


Practice or Praxis 

Fig. 1. CBS 8680 obv. 


M.J. Geller 


■m 7 0///////////MW^ 




Fig. 2. CBS 1720 rev. 





A.R. George 

This study continues the series of articles that make available cuneiform 
texts in previously unpublished hand-copies left by the late Sidney Smith. 1 
The fragment presented here now rests in the British Museum's Sippar 
collections. 2 As such it was listed by Erie Leichty in the first of his three 
monumental volumes of catalogue. 3 It is accordingly a great pleasure to place 
the editio princeps of this piece in a volume honouring him. 

The tablet BM 54312 (Fig. 1) is Neo- or Late Babylonian. It is part of a 
consignment that contained tablets from Babylon, as well as Sippar (82-5- 
22). To judge from the superscript, a standard invocation of Marduk and his 
consort expressing the hope that the tablet will be successfully completed 
the provenance was indeed Babylon. 

The tablet is certainly one of the most intriguing fragments found in 
Smith's folios of cuneiform copies, though only the obverse is preserved. 
According to format and style the text belongs to one of the classes of docu- 
ments that are known in Assyriology as commentaries. 4 There are essentially 
two types of commentary. The first type comprises fixed texts handed down 
as part of the scribal canon; good examples are the commentaries on Summa 
izbu edited by Erie Leichty and other lexical commentaries that survive in 
multiple and duplicate manuscripts. 5 The second type of commentary is that 
in which typically a phrase of text is cited and philological notes mixed with 
quotations and other comments are appended by way of elucidation. Where 
several tablets of this kind of commentary are extant for a given text of the 

1 Seeearlier, "Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith, Part One," RA 82(1988) 139- 
62; "Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith. Part Two: Prognostic and Diagnostic 
Omens, Tablet I," RA 85 (1991) 137-67; "Royal Inscriptions from the Folios of Sidney Smith," 
in Studies Grayson 1 3 7^44 . The remaining copies of Babylonian tablets in the folios are either 
incomplete or have been superseded by the efforts of other scholars, published and unpublished. 
Some Old and Neo-Assyrian documents remain to be published, however. 

2 BM 543 12 is published by the good grace of Sidney Smith's son, Professor H. F. Smith, and 
with the permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. The tablet has been collated and a 
few minor alterations and additions have been made to Smith's copy in consequence. 

3 E. Leichty, Catalogue of Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum 6. Tablets from Sippar 1 
(London: British Museum, 1986) 138. 

4 See generally J. Krecher, "Kommentare," RIA 6 188-91. 

5 For the Summa izbu commentaries see E. Leichty, The Omen Series Summa Izbu (TCS 4; 
Locust Valley: Augustin, 1970) 211-31. [Editors' note: see also I.L. Finkel in the present 


A.R. George 

scribal tradition, as for example with Sakikku I, they are not true duplicates 
but read like individual records of traditional interpretations and customary 
explanations that were evidently attached to the text under comment by gen- 
erations of Babylonian scholars and teachers. 6 The presence in some of them 
of scribal notations such as hepi "break" shows that they came to be copied 
for their own sake. These scholia were not originally part of the written 
scribal tradition itself; they are better understood as witnesses to how stu- 
dents engaged with that tradition during their education. What is set down on 
BM 543 12, however, cannot yet be proved to be a learned exposition of any 
text of the written tradition, for no extant text tallies with what is written on 
it; it may be that it comprises a learned exposition of what was never written 
down. Oral lore, as well as written, was discussed by scholar-teachers with 
their apprentices. 

The surviving text sets down comments chiefly on the apparel worn 
by an unidentified subject during the period of 5-11 Nisan (Nisannu), the 
month of the New Year. These seven days were the time of a great festival at 
Babylon, for this was the crucial period when Nabu arrived from Borsippa, 
his father Marduk hosted the divine assembly in his temple E-sagil, and 
the gods accompanied them in procession to the AkTtu-temple outside the 
city. There the gods witnessed Marduk's symbolic defeat of Ti'amat, the 
Sea, before saluting his triumphal re-entry into the city. 7 Other cities held 
similar festivals at one time or other but the superscribed prayer typical of 
tablets from Babylon and the presence of Marduk in the text itself makes it 
likely that the context of this commentary is the AkTtu-festival of this god at 

The question of the main participant's identity is important for a proper 
understanding of what is going on. In the first line a sequence of damaged 
signs, x-x-u, can hardly be other than a human subject who is in attendance 

6 See George, "Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith. Part Two: Prognostic and 
Diagnostic Omens" 139^40. The observation made there, that though the three commentaries 
on Sakikku I "sometimes agree word for word, more often than not they treat the same subject 
in slightly different ways," is borne out by a newly published fourth exemplar, von Weiher, 
SpTU V 256. This is very close to Commentary A but not an exact duplicate. 

7 The standard edition of the rituals of Nisan at Babylon, specifically of E-sagil, the temple 
of Marduk, is still F. Thureau-Dangin, Rituels accadiens (Paris: Leroux, 1921) 127-54: "Le 
rituel des fetes du Nouvel An a Babylone." In the interval since then other sources of the 
ritual and texts related to it have been published, notably the texts edited or re-edited by 
B. Pongratz-Leisten, Ina Sulmi Irub. Die kulttopographische und ideologische Programmatik 
der akitu-Prozession in Babylonien und Assyrien im 1. Jahrtausend v.Chr. (BaF 16; Mainz: 
Philipp von Zabern, 1994) 228^-6; W.G. Lambert, "Processions to the Akltu House," RA 91 
( 1 997) 49-80; A. R. George, "Four Temple Rituals from Babylon," in Studies Lambert 259-99, 
esp. 260-70 ("1. Nisannu?"). Another very probable source is that published by F. Kocher, 
"Ein mittelassyrisches Ritualfragment zum Neujahrfest," ZA 50 (1952) 192-202; for this, 
previously held to describe a festival imported to Assyria, see George, "Four Temple Rituals" 
262-3 n. 17. 


Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith 

on a deity in some capacity for the seven days of the period in question. The 
reason for his participation is explained in a broken clause of commentary, 
"[because of the . . . that] the great lord Marduk did to him." Clearly the traces 
exclude both the human beings known to have been attendant on Marduk at 
this time, the priest-cum- valet who looked after him in his cult-chamber (the 
sesgallu) and the king. 

One possibility is that the damaged signs in line 1 should be read 
r ku-lu^-u s and taken as an unusual rendering of kulu 'u, an effeminate or 
feminized (probably castrato) cultic performer. The same spelling is also 
found at least once elsewhere, in a Late Babylonian letter. 9 In a synonym list 
kulu 'u explains kurgarru and assinnu, as well as various other more obscure 
persons. 10 The functions and proclivities of the kurgarru and the assinnu 
are well known. They were cultic performers and included in their ranks 
transvestites, homosexual prostitutes, catamites, castrati, hermaphrodites 
and the like. 11 Accordingly they occupied a lowly but special position in 
Babylonian society. In another lexical list the word kulu'u occurs as an 
alternative reading of the logogram lu.ur.SAL "female man, hermaphrodite," 
otherwise commonly read as assinnu} 2 The two words are also variants in 
literature, both describing Asusu-namir, whom Ea made in order to amuse 
Ereskigal. 13 Unlike an ordinary being Asusu-namir could enter and leave the 
Netherworld at will, probably because, being neither male nor female, he 
was set apart from the mass of humankind and not governed by the usual 
regulations. 14 Proof that the kulu'u was of special gender comes from a 
Middle Babylonian diplomatic letter in which the addressee is accused of 
insulting an exiled Assyrian prince by calling him "a kulu'u, not a man." 15 

8 The traces do not permit a reading k[a-l]u-u, "cult-singer." 

9 CT 22 183, 9: ^ku-lu-u™*, ed. E. Ebeling, Neubabylonische Briefe (ABAW 30; Munich: 
Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1949) 99. 

10 CT 18 5 K 4193 rev. 9-1 1 restored from LTBA 2 1 vi 45-9 // 2 380-3: i-sin-nu-u, a-pi-lu-u, 
kur-gar-ru-u, a-ra-ru-u, su-da-ra-ru-u = ku-lu-'; cf. CAD K 529. 

11 They are the subject of a large bibliography; see most recently Stefan M. Maul, "kurgarru 
und assinnu und ihr Stand in der babylonischen Gesellschaft," in Aufienseiter und Randgruppen. 
Beitrdgezu einer Sozialgeschichte desAlten Orients (ed. Volkert Haas; XENIA 32; Constance: 
Universitatsverlag Konstanz, 1 992) 159-7 1 ; W. G. Lambert, "Prostitution," in Aufienseiter und 
Randgruppen 127-61, esp. 147-52; George, "Four Temple Rituals" 270-1 n. 21. A study 
from a more anthropological perspective is that by Gwendolyn Leick, Sex and Eroticism in 
Mesopotamian Literature (London: Routledge, 1994) chapter 14, "Liminal Sexuality: Eunuchs, 
Homosexuals and the Common Prostitute." 

12 B. Landsberger and O.R. Gurney, "igi-duh-a = tamartu, Short Version,"4/D 18 (1957-58) 
84, 265-6: lii.[ur.SAL] = ku-lu- ', lu.ur.SAL = as-sin-nu. 

13 Istar's Descent: KAR 1 rev. 6': as-na-me-er ku-lu- '-[a] II CT 15 46 rev. 12: m asu(e)-su na-mir 
li as-sin-nu, ed. Borger, BAL I 101 Nin. 92 // Ass. Rs. 7. 

14 So already Lambert, "Prostitution" 151. 

15 IV R 2 34 no. 2 rev. 21: ku-lu-'-u la zi-ka-ru su-u, ed. J. Llop and A.R. George, "Die 
babylonisch-assyrischen Beziehungen und die innere Lage Assyriens in der Zeit der Auseinan- 
dersetzung zwischen Ninurta-tukulti-Assur und Mutakkil-Nusku nach neuen keilschriftlichen 


A.R. George 

The insult becomes sharper when one considers that a kulu 'u, if he was like 
an assinnu, took the female role in homosexual intercourse. 

The presence of a kulu 'u in Marduk's entourage is not without parallel. 
There is a tablet that specifically collects the Akkadian chants to be recited by 
a m ur.SAL (assinnu or kulu u) during the progress of Marduk's procession to 
the AkTtu-temple on 8 Nisan. 16 It may be that this person is identical with the 
subject of our text. One of the chants tells us that among those who took part 
in the procession were assinnus and kurgarrus of Istar, Lady of Babylon. 17 

The commentary states that a member of the kulu 'u personnel (if correctly 
read) was obliged to attend Marduk during the ritual of the Akitu-fQstiv&l, 
evidently because of something Marduk did to him. The following phrases 
of commentary refer to something — surely, whatever Marduk did to the x- 
x-m — as a "curse" that "cannot be undone." I suspect that what Marduk did 
was to determine the peculiar status of this class of person (by decreeing 
their castration?). Curse by a deity as an aetiology of the degraded status of 
cultic performers in Babylonian society occurs in the Descent of Istar, where 
the assinnu (or kulu u) Asusu-namir and his kind are cursed by Ereskigal for 
thwarting her plans; according to one source her curse is similarly irrevocable, 
a "destiny not to be forgotten for all time." 18 Given the rarity of the spelling 
ku-lu-u, this reading in the present text remains questionable. However, it is 
a reading that fits not only the traces but also the ancient exegesis set down 
in the opening lines, at least as I understand it. 

If the first few lines of the text are to be interpreted as commentary 
relating to the kulu Vs status, the rest of it is commentary on ritual actions. It 
seems these ritual actions are in some way part of the cultic rites conducted 
from the fifth to eleventh days, but specifically the procedures of cult of a 
deity d a-[ ... ]. Clearly this cannot be Marduk. Since in line 5 a feminine 
possessive pronoun is at issue, I assume the deity is a goddess, and at Babylon 
a goddess d a-[ ... ] is likely to be Anunnitum, who had a sanctuary in the 
temple complex of Marduk and is well known in the religious life of the 
city 19 She recurs in lines 5 and 6. Now Anunnitum is a form of Istar and it 
is with Istar's cult especially that cultic performers like the kurgarru and the 
assinnu were most often associated. 

Quellen," AfO 48-9 (2001-02) 1-23. The prince in question was the unfortunate Ninurta- 

16 K 9876+19534 obv. 1 : [an-nu-u] sd '"ur.SAL imannu(sid), ed. Pongratz-Leisten, Ina Sulmi 
Irub 228. Singing also accompanied Marduk's return to E-sagil, though on that occasion it was 
a senior professional cult-singer (kalamahu) chanting in Sumerian: see Jerrold S. Cooper, "A 
Sumerian su-il-la with a prayer for Sin-sar-iskun," Iraq 32 (1970) 5 1-67. 

17 K 9876+ 19534 obv. 11. 

18 KAR 1 rev. 19': sim-ti la ma-se-e ana sa-a-ti, ed. Borger, BAL I 101 Ass. Rs. 20. 

19 For Anunnitum and her cult at Babylon see the temple list Tintir IV 10, ed. A.R. George, 
Babylonian Topographical Texts (OLA 40; Leuven: Peeters, 1992) 58-9 and commentary 
on 310. 


Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith 

The kulu 'u (if that is what he is) who must attend Marduk during his fes- 
tival is thus revealed as an hermaphrodite attached to the cult of Anunnitum. 
The first ritual action that he performs (lines 4-5) is to sprinkle holy water, 
probably on her (i.e., the goddess's statue), an action that recalls how in 
mythology the kurgarra and galatur — in Babylonian Namtar, but implicitly 
compelled by the assinnu/kulu 'u Asusu-namir — sprinkle Inanna/I star's dead 
body with the water of life in order to enable her return from the Netherworld. 
The ancient commentary, however, is silent on this point, remarking only that 
the sprinkling signifies the purification of the world. 

The remainder of the text is devoted to the exposition of a second 
ritual action, namely an elaborate ceremony of dressing. Ritual attire was 
important in the Babylonian cult, not only for deities but also for their 
human attendants, as we know from a Late Babylonian tablet from Uruk 
that prescribes the garments and headgear to be worn by various participants 
in the cult, including the king. 20 The subject in BM 54312 is no doubt the 
mysterious personage of line 1 , kulu 'u or no, and the assumption adopted 
here is that this ceremony is to make him suitably splendid for his role 
in Marduk's ^falw-festival. His basic dress is given by the text as "apparel 
of Anunnitum." As well as serving to remind us that the activities of the 
subject are bound up with the "rites of Anunnitum" (as restored here), this 
is further evidence of his identity as a cultic performer. Other references 
exist to such personnel wearing the accoutrements of a goddess: a ritual 
from Uruk describes a kurgarru and an assinnu as wearing the tillu-sash of 
the goddess Narudu while accompanying Istar to the Akitu-temple, 21 and a 
commentary on a tablet of diagnostic omens quotes in the context of cultic 
ecstatics a lexical entry lu.g' § kes.da nin "one (sporting) the knot 
of the mistress of the Igigi" = ri-kis d na-ru-du "(one sporting) the knot of 
Narudu." 22 It is suspected that some of the cultic personnel of Istar wore 
female attire; some certainly carried spindles as a mark of their vocation or 
gender. 23 The present attestation of the subject dressing in the garments of 
Anunnitum appears to be a further example of transvestism. 

After donning the apparel of Anunnitum the subject of the ritual must 
adorn himself with the following items: 

20 A. Falkenstein, "Zwei Rituale aus seleukidischer Zeit," UVB 15 (1959) 40^ no. 2. 

21 RAcc. 115, 7, ed. S. Lackenbacher, "Un nouveau fragment de la 'feted'Istar',".&4 71 (1977) 
46, 25': sd til-le-e d na-ru-du rak-su. The tillu of this goddess is a distinctive attribute, used 
elsewhere to identify an apotropaic figurine as her representative: see BBR no. 45 iii 1, ed. 
F. A.M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts (CM 1; Groningen: 
Styx, 1992) 12, 138-9. 

22 Commentary a on Sakikku I 30, ed. George, "Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney 
Smith, Part Two" 150-1// von Weiher, SpTU V 256 rev. 6'. 

23 See the lexical text Lii = sa 1 2 1 7 (ed. MSL 12 103), where = na-ds pi-laq-qi, 
"spindle bearer," follows entries for kurgarru and assinnu. 


A.R. George 

(a) seven waistbands 

(b) fourteen writing styli of reed, seven strapped at his right side, seven at 
his left 

(c) two more styli, two at the front and two at the back 

(d) two upper overgarments and two lower overgarments 

(e) belts, evidently two in number 

(f) an unidentified item (text damaged) worn behind the waist 

(g) fourteen twists of coloured wool, seven on the right and seven on the left 
(h) another unidentified item, made of linen 

(i) headgear? 

The interest of the text in listing this elaborate costume is again expository, 
for each item is subject to phrases of commentary The sole aim of the 
commentary on this passage is equation of the individual items of clothing 
and regalia with members of the pantheon. In the Seleucid tablet from 
Uruk the garments of the temple personnel (erib biti) are adorned with 
representations of seven minor guardian deities. 24 The technique used in the 
present text, however, is to maintain that the items worn actually bear the 
names of gods. This makes for a specific identification between object and 
god. The seven styli worn on the right (b) are identified by name as the great 
triad of Anu, Enlil, and Ea, the three celestial deities of sun, moon, and Venus, 
and the Mother Goddess. Those on the left (also b) bear the names of a group 
of seven Babylonian gods known in antiquity as the "seven Ninurtas": Uras 
of Dilbat, Ninurta of Nippur, Zababa of Kis, Nabu of Borsippa, Nergal of 
Cutha, Madanu of Babylon, and Pabilsag of Isin. The styli of front and rear 
(c) are called after the Mother Goddess and the goddess Gula in her title 
of Nintinugga, Lady who Quickens the Dead. The seven waistbands (a) are 
named Istar and Ea; the presence of two deities only, and out of sequence, 
may mean that the writer of the commentary misunderstood something. 25 

The twin sets of two overgarments (d) are called after the chthonic twins 
Lugalirra and Meslamtaea and two apotropaic monsters, Lion-Demon and 
Dragon. The belts (e) are named as the vizier Papsukkal and his master, 
Anu. The unidentified item worn behind the waist (f) is the Mother Goddess. 
The seven twists of coloured wool on the right (g) are identified as the 
Pleiades, the seven on the left (also g) are a heptad of waterways, not all of 
them identifiable. We are reminded that in ancient Mesopotamia the pantheon 
contained not just the anthropomorphic figures of mythology; stars and rivers 
were held divine also. As the text fails us it seems that a linen item (h) and 
headgear are at issue (i), and the Moon God is mentioned, appropriately in 
the context, for he is often addressed as bel age "lord of the crown." 

24 Falkenstein, "Zwei Rituale" 40 rev. 13-15'. 

25 See below, the note on the text. 


Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith 

The principle according to which inanimate or mundane objects can 
be equated with prominent deities of the pantheon was well established in 
Babylonian scholarship. The ancient texts that articulate such equations most 
clearly are those studied and elucidated by Alasdair Livingstone, particularly 
the lists that explain as deities ritual equipment and materials used in tem- 
ple and exorcistic rituals. 26 In these lists simple equations are made so that 
everyday objects in use in a ritual signify deities. Sometimes there is a clear 
rationale, as in the classic example when gypsum and bitumen are iden- 
tified respectively as Ninurta and the Asakku demon, famous opponents in 
mythology. 27 In the mythological narrative Lugale Ninurta is champion of the 
established and familiar order, while the Asakku represents the ungovernable 
and foreign chaos that threatens that order. In the equations of the lists, the 
white substance is naturally the good Ninurta, the black material is the evil 
Asakku. In practice these two substances, washes of gypsum and bitumen, 
are daubed by the medicine man (asipu, "exorcist") on the doorway of the 
house where his patient lies sick. According to the symbolism of the list they 
signify the presence of Ninurta and the Asakku, in the expectation that just 
as Ninurta won in the primeval combat of mythology, so he will again when 
battle is rejoined in the doorway. With the Asakku vanquished, the demonic 
influences that have caused the patient's illness will be banished. 

As Livingstone points out, the rationale behind the equations of his texts 
cannot always be identified as easily, and many of the identifications remain a 
matter of mystery. What seems certain, nevertheless, is that the interpretations 
of ritual equipment and other objects may be informed by mythology, so 
that individual items evoke individual episodes or mythologems that are 
appropriate, but the ensemble does not itself tell a myth. This is sure proof 
that the equation between object and deity was a secondary development. 
Just as learned pseudo-etymological texts manipulate the spelling of proper 
nouns — typically the names of gods, cities, and temples — in order to bring 
esoteric meanings to light that reveal hidden and mystical truths about the 
nature of the names' bearers, 28 so the scholars who developed the technique 
of explaining ritual objects in terms of gods and goddesses sought to invest 
in those objects the numinous powers of the supernatural world and to bring 
those powers into play in the ritual. 

26 A. Livingstone, Mystical and Mythological Explanatory Works of Assyrian and Babylonian 
Scholars (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) esp. chapter 5; see in addition W. G. Lambert, "The 
Qualifications of Babylonian Diviners," in Studies Borger 151. 

27 On this see already W. G. Lambert, "Myth and Ritual as Conceived by the Babylonians," 
JSS 13 (1968) 104-12, esp. 110. 

28 For examples of these texts see J. Bottero, "Les noms de Marduk, l'ecriture et la 'logique' 
en Mesopotamie ancienne," in Studies Finkelstein 5-28; Livingstone, Mystical Works 54-63; 
W.G. Lambert, "A Late Babylonian Copy of an Expository Text," JNES 48 (1989) 215-21; 
George, Topographical Texts nos. 2-5, 18 §6, 19, 20 §4, 22-3, and 31. 


A.R. George 

Such was also the intent of whatever sources, written or memorized, in- 
formed the commentator of the present text. The equations are very evidently 
symbolic. The wearer of the garments and regalia is no longer himself but, 
by virtue of the identification of his apparel with deities great and small, he is 
the entire pantheon of heaven and earth, going to march alongside Marduk, 
the king of the universe, in his symbolic battle with the watery forces of 
chaos. This explains why Marduk does not appear among the gods chosen 
by the commentator. All the other great figures of the Babylonian pantheon 
are there, except Adad. I cannot find a reason for Adad's absence, but the 
context of the ritual itself explains the omission of Marduk. The suggestion 
is that a kulu 'u from the personnel of Anunmtum of Babylon is to accom- 
pany Marduk for the seven days of Nisan during which Marduk's statue is 
prepared for the journey to the AkTtu-temple and makes the procession there 
and back. The apparel that he wears very appropriately represents and sym- 
bolizes the assembly of the gods subservient to Marduk; it does not include 
in that number the king of the gods himself, for Marduk travels under his 
own identity. 

BM 54312 (82-5-22, 464) 

[ina a-mat d be]l(en) u d belti(gasan)-id lis-lim 

1 [x x x ]x[ x ,l Ynisannu(bds) istu{ta) ud 5.kam adi(en) ud 1 1 .kam 7 UA-mu x x-u 
ina pan(ig'\) r d n [ ... ] 

2 [x x-r]u- belu(en) r[abil(ga\)Y"'' d marduk(amar.utu) T-pu-su-us 7 kis-sat 
same(an) e u erseti(ki) tim as-su x[ . . . ] 

3 [x x ]x-ri d[r-ra]t-su la ip-pa-sa-ri as-su istu(ta) ud 5.kam adi(en) ud 1 l.kam 
par-su sd dl a 1 ' -\nu-ni-tuml ...] 

4 [x x x ]x-bu- r up me(a) mc ' s ndri(id) me(a) mc " s buri(pu) me(a) mci iA i-di-gi-lcit 
me(a) mei id pu-mt-tu [0?] 

5 [i-na sa-r\a-qi-sd mdtdtu(kur) mci u-tal-lal 3.ta xix ^nahlapat(ga.b) fee(gada) 
su-bat d a-nu-ni-tum ih-ha-l[ip] 

6 [x x x] mc§ su-bat d a-nu-ni-tum il-lab-bis 1 sd qab-lu ina qabli(m\\r\ib4)-su 

1 [7 i l qa-a\n-tup-pi ana imni(\5) i-sa-an-ni-ib 7 i l qa-an-tup-pi ana sumeli(150) 
KIMIN 2 siqa-an-tup-pi 

8 [ana ma-ha]r ana ku-t[a]l qabli(mumb4)-su u'(I)-sd-as-bat su-mu &qa-an- 
tup-pi mci sd im-nu & a-num 

9 [ d en-lil d e]a(idim) d sin(30) [ d ]samas'(30) d is-tar u d be-let-ilT(dmgk) mci 
siim-su-nu su-mu KIMIN 

10 [sd sumeli(\50) d ur]as d nin-urta d za-baa,-ba^ d nabu(mua\i) d «erga/(U.GUR) 
d maddnu(di.kud) u d pa-bil-sag siim-su-nu 


Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith 

1 1 [su-mu s]d qabli(mumb4)-su d is-tar u d ea(idim) sum-su-nu &qa-an- 
tuppT(dub) mci ma-har u ku-tal-l[a] 

12 [ d be-let]-ili(dingir) u d nin-tin-ugs-ga siim-su-nu 2 su-bat e-lu-tu 2 sap-lu-tu sd 
istu(ta) muhhi(\xg\x) kisadi(gu)-su 

13 [adi qab]li(mmub4)-su up-ta-na-ar-ku-' Hugal-ir^-ra u d mes-lam-ta-e-a 

14 [ d U4-gal]-lu u d mushussu(mus.hus) siim-su-nu l<1 &nebehu()b.\a) sa ina 
qabli(rmimb4)-su i-lam-mu-u A pap-sukkal d a-nu sum-su-nu 

15 [x ]x sd ina ku-tal qabli(murub4)-su ummuiwaa) d be-iet-ill(d\x\gvs) m < A siim-su 
sik pesdtu(babbav) sik samdtu(sas) sik uqndtu( sd im-[n]u 

16 [u sumel]i(\50) sd is-tu qabli(m\\vvk>A,)-su uz-zu-nu sd im-nu mu, zappu(m\x\) 
siim-su sd sumeli(l50) 7 naratu(id) m [ ci ] 

17 [ id id]iqlat(idigaa) \ d pu\- T rat-tit* id mud-nu-nu burtu(pu) palag(pas) sit 
samsi( d utu.e.a) palag(pas) ereb samsi( d \xtu.l\\.a) siim-su-n[u] 

18 [x x x] x[ x x x] GAN sd kite(gada) su-u si sam-si A en-lil-u-tu ka-as-ka-s[i] 

19 [ ]-ig-ri d sin(30) ku-lu-lu qaqqadi(sag.du)-su assu(mu) m *kunukku 

(kisib) n!il as-pu-u aban{nan) sarru(\\xga\)-[ti ... (remainder lost)] 


By the command of Bel and Beltiya let it be a success! 

[. . .] from the fifth to the eleventh day of Nisannu, for seven days the . . . [stands] 
before the god [DN, because of the . . .] the great lord Marduk did to him. Seven 
= all heaven and underworld, because ... [. . .] ... His [curse] cannot be undone, 
because from the fifth to the eleventh day the rites of [Anunmtum . . .] ... him. 
River water, well water, Tigris water, Euphrates water [(...) 5 as he] sprinkles on 
her 29 all the lands are purified. He wraps himself in three linen cloaks, the attire 
of Anunmtum. He puts on [x ...] ..., the attire of Anunnitum. He ties seven 
waistbands around his waist. He fastens [seven reed] styli to the right, ditto 
seven reed styli to the left. Two reed styli he positions [to the front] and to the 
rear of his waist. The names of the reed styli on the right: they are called Anu, 
[Enlil], Ea, Sin, Samas(!), Istar, and Belet-ill. The names of ditto 10 [on the left]: 
they are called Uras, Ninurta, Zababa, Nabu, Nergal, Madanu, and Pabilsag. 
[The names of] his waistbands: they are called Istar and Ea. The reed styli front 
and rear: they are called [Belet]-ill and Nintinugga. The two upper garments 
and two lower ones which they drape across from the top of his shoulder [to] 
his waist: (the two) are called Lugalirra and Meslamtaea; (the others) are called 
[Lion]-Demon and Dragon. The belts which they put around his waist: they are 
called Papsukkal (and) Anu. 15 [The . . .] ... which is behind his waist: it is called 
Mother Belet-ilT. The (twists of) white, red and blue wool, seven each on right 
[and left], which ... from his waist: those of the right are called the Pleiades, 
those of the left are called the Seven Rivers: Tigris, Euphrates, Mudnunu(?), 
Well-spring(?), Eastern Canal, Western Canal. [...] ... [...] it is a ... of linen, 
east = Enlil-ship, breastbone, [...] ... Sin, the kerchief of his head, because a 
seal of jasper, the stone of kingship [... (remainder lost)] 

29 Or, "as she sprinkles," with reference to a feminine subject. 


A.R. George 


2. The mystic figure seven, which refers back to the number of days given 
in the previous line, is also equated with kis-sd-tu in a group vocabulary 
(F. Thureau-Dangin, "Un vocabulaire de Kouyoundjik," RA 16 [1919] 166 
ii 24 // CT 18 29 ii 19). Compare also lugal. ,1 - mu - na 7 = sar-ru kis-sa-ti in Lu 
= sa I 52 (ed. MSL 12 94), and 7. am dingir : se-bet z7f(dingir) me§ 
kis-sa-ti in Udug-hul V (CT 16 13 iii 18). 

4. GI is written for \G(iq), as elsewhere in Neo- and Late Babylonian 
writing. The use of CV signs for VC is well documented for Neo- Assyrian 
orthography (see K. Deller, "Studien zur neuassyrischen Orthographie," Or 
NS 31 [1962] 188-90), but not yet for Babylonian of the same period. 

5. The antecedent of the pronominal suffix on saraqisa is presumed to be the 
goddess as object; less likely it is the ritual's protagonist as subject. Though 
in ancient Mesopotamia hermaphrodites had feminine gender as well as 
masculine, elsewhere in this text the person who is the ritual's only human 
participant consistently attracts a masculine pronoun. The spelling u-tal-lal 
stands for 3rd fem. pi. utallala, CVC for CVCV 

6. The figure seven is probably a mistake for two, since it appears from line 
1 1, as restored here, that the waistbands are equated with only two deities. 

7. The styli are apparently attached to the waistband. A similar arrangement 
is found in relation to divine apparel in the fragment Rm 908, 4-5: ...]x-' 
qar-tup-pa-a-ti ri-kis qablT(mumb4) mm -su-nu [...]x meS u-kin-nu ina bir-ki- 
sci qantuppati{g\ mel ri-kis qablT(mmub4)-sd (Haupt, Nimrodepos no. 
50, ed. A. Livingstone, Court Poetry and Literary Miscellanea [SAA 3; 
Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1989] no. 49). These attestations of styli 
tied to clothing help explain the ^slu-bar qa-an-tup-pu worn by the king 
when taking the hands of the gods of Uruk (Falkenstein, "Zwei Rituale" 40 
rev. 9'). Falkenstein thought this was a garment with a stylus pattern ("ein 
Kleid mit einem Schreibrohr-Muster"); a robe adorned with clutches of styli 
now seems more probable. 

9. The second d 30 is dittography, an obvious error for d 20. 

10. The seven gods of the left were known in antiquity as the "seven Ninurtas," 
under which rubric they are listed in the Archive of Mystic Heptads (KAR 1 42 
i 22-5, ed. Pongratz-Leisten, Ina Sulmi Irub 221): d uras d nin-urta d za-ba4- 
ba4 d na-bi-um d ne-erijj-gal d madanu(di.kus) d pa-bil-sag 7 d nin-urta mei . They 
also appear as a group in a expository text concerning the rituals for repairing 


Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith 

divine statues in the temple workshop (newly re-edited by C.B.F. Walker 
and M. Dick, The Induction of the Cult Image in Ancient Mesopotamia: 
The Mesopotamian Mis Pi Ritual [SAALT 1; Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text 
Corpus Project, 2001] 240, 30'— 1'): d uras d nin-urta d za-ba4-ba4 d «aM(muati) 
d nergal(\J. GUR) d madanu(di.kus) u d pa-bil-sag. 

13. The spelling up-ta-na-ar-ku-' stands for II/3 present uptanarraku. 

14. If the two deities equated with the second set of garments are to form 
a true pair, as did the first set, then an apotropaic monster comparable to 
the mushussu is needed at the beginning of the line. Accordingly a possible 
restoration might be [ku6.1u.uis].lu, but the ugallu is preferred here because it 
appears more often adjacent to the mushussu in lists of apotropaic monsters 
found in litanies of absolution and other texts, and the pairing may thus 
have been traditional (for these lists, given in tabulated form, see George, 
"Babylonian texts from the folios of Sidney Smith, part one" 151; Pongratz- 
Leisten, Ina Sulmi Irub 23). 

15. The adj. samu in the fem. pi. is given as the rendering for by 
analogy with not only sik.babbar = pesdtu and = uqndtu but also 
other colours and varieties of wool (see Hh XIX 23-92, ed. MSL 10 128-30). 

16. The verb uz-zu-nu is obscure to me; emend to uz-zu-hu, "which are girt"? 

17. It does not seem possible to extract the expected seven rivers from this 
line: id mud-nu-nu is not a known watercourse, to my knowledge, and burtu 
(or buru) is hardly a river. Corruption is suspected and the reading of the 
middle of the line is provisional. The "Eastern Canal" calls to mind the 
LTbil-hengalla canal at Babylon, which was often given this epithet (Tintir 
V 61, ed. George, Topographical Texts 66 with commentary on pp. 356-8). 
Another list of seven rivers occurs in a lipsur-litwy, K 2096 (Craig, ABRT I 
57 obv. 24-5): id idigna id buranun id me.kal.kal id dur.ul '[ d x (x)] id IGI.NUMUN 
[d a-ra-ah-tum na-ram-ti d marduk(amar.utu). 

18. The explanation of si samsi "sunrise, east" as ellilutu reports a well- 
entrenched belief that the east was Enid's direction. This notion is found 
in scholarly lists that identify the four winds with the chief deities of the 
pantheon (see Livingstone, Mystical Works 75-6). The east wind is sadu, 
and the association with Enlil no doubt rests on the use of sadu, "mountain," 
and its synonyms as epithets of this god. 

19. A seal of jasper "stone of kingship," with suitable inscription, is known to 
have been strung around the neck of Sin's statue in E-hulhul by Assurbanipal, 


A.R. George 

as Nabonidus reports (L. Messerschmidt, "Die Inschrift der Stele Nabuna'ids, 
des Konigs von Babylon," MVAG 1 896, 1 : 8 1 , col. x 32 ff.): n ^kunukki(kisib) 
na4 as-pu-u su-qu-ru aban{n&n) sarru(\ugal)-tu; recently re-edited by H. 
Schaudig, Die Inschriften Nabonids von Babylon unci Kyros ' des Grofien 
samt den in ihrem Umfeld entstandenen Tendenzschriften: Textausgabe und 
Grammatik (AOAT 256; Munster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2001) 522 3.3 col. x 32'-4' 
with n. 797. 


Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith 



,_„,__ - .— 4-, 

Fig. 1. BM 54312 (82-5-22, 464). Copy 
by Sidney Smith, adjusted by the author 



William W. Hallo 

For his contribution to the Festschrift in honor of Erica Reiner (who often 
joined both of us in courses at the Oriental Institute in the 1 950s), Erie Leichty 
chose to present "a legal text from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III" that was 
unusual in at least two respects: it was preserved in two duplicate copies and 
given the fingernail markings appearing on the edges of both tablets, these 
could be characterized as late copies. (He noted that all such texts known to 
him deal with real estate in one form or another. ') Both aspects are deserving 
of further attention. 

I. Duplicate Archival Texts 

While tablets with fingernail markings are not uncommon in the first millen- 
nium, 2 duplicate exemplars of such texts, as of archival texts in most periods, 
are much rarer. The following random examples of ostensibly archival texts 
in duplicate form come to mind. An exceptional sale document from Umma 
in the Neo-Sumerian period — and with an unusual dating formula — was pub- 
lished by Steinkeller, who called it "the earliest Ur III sale document known 
so far;" 3 in Snell's opinion it should rather be regarded as a model contract 
that had entered the scribal curriculum, precisely because "this duplication 
is unique in this period." 4 From the succeeding Old Babylonian period, there 
are two pairs of duplicate divisions of inheritance from Nippur last dealt 
with by Prang. 5 But according to Renger, it was only the Neo-Babylonian 
period that saw "the introduction of the duplicate tablet, that is, a contract 
was written in duplicate and a copy given to each of the two parties involved 
in a legal agreement." 6 Some texts now even occurred in triplicate. 7 

1 Erie Leichty, "A Legal Text from the Reign of Tiglath-Pileser III," in Studies Reiner 227-9. 

2 J. Renger, "Legal Aspects of Sealing in Ancient Mesopotamia," in Seals and Sealing in the 
Ancient Near East (ed. McGuire Gibson and Robert D. Biggs; BiMes 6; Malibu, Calif.: Undena 
Publications 1977) 75-88, esp. 78 and nn. 63 f. 

3 Piotr Steinkeller, Sale Documents of the Ur-III-Period (FAOS 17; Stuttgart: Franz Steiner 
Verlag Wiesbaden, 1989) 275-8. 

4 Daniel C. Snell, review of Steinkeller, Sale Documents, JAOS 112(1992) 118-22, esp. 119f. 

5 Erwin Prang, "Das Archiv des Bitua," ZA 67 (1977) 217-34, esp. 218-20. Of course, en- 
velopes duplicating the contracts contained within occurred frequently in Old Babylonian times. 

6 Renger, "Legal Aspects" 78 and n. 68. 

7 That is how I interpret Grant Frame, "Nabonidus, Nabu-sarra-usur, and the Eanna Temple," 
ZA 81 (1991) 37-86, esp. 59 and n. 43. 


William W. Hallo 

Perhaps, then, Leichty's duplicates, like Steinkeller's, may have to be 
reinterpreted as schooltexts, the more so as their subject — a dispute over 
inheritance — is a favorite topic of the scribal (or should we say legal) 
curriculum. They show a rather remarkable resemblance to "a model court 
case concerning inheritance" that I published in 2002. 8 That case was in 
Sumerian and dated back to the 20th or 19th century, with the copy probably 
from the 1 8th, while Leichty's case dates to the eighth century, with the copies 
a century later. But both cases involved an inheritance divided between an 
older brother, who received the lion's share, and a younger brother or brothers 
who contested the disposition of the estate. Both cases were settled "out of 
court" by mutual agreements involving real estate including an orchard. It 
is thus tempting to see late examples of a model court case in Leichty's 

A third example, originally published by Langdon as OECT 1 20 f, 
remains in dispute. It involves an original which dates, according to its 
colophon, to Nabu-apal-iddin (9th century). It is "a large tablet from the 
Eanna listing the daily offerings of meat to Ishtar and Nanaya and the cate- 
gories of temple personel (sic) entitled to a prebendal share thereof," to quote 
the description by Beaulieu who speculates that it may have been "recopied 
in the Neo-Babylonian period to serve as a source for the reinstatement of the 
old prebendal system after times of disruptions," perhaps during the reign of 
Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century. 9 However, McEwan, who republished 
the text thinks that it was "probably no more than a literary exercise." 10 

II. Late Copies 

The subject of cuneiform copies of (significantly) earlier originals has not 
received much systematic attention. The Reallexikon der Assyriologie covers 
only the Hittites in its entry for "Kopien von Keilschrifttexten," a situation 
partly corrected by the editor's own survey of copies of royal inscriptions in 
the same volume. 11 

A fragmentary letter addressed to King Sulgi of Ur is known only from a 
late copy made, according to its colophon, in Babylon from an original found 

8 William W. Hallo, "A Model Court Case Concerning Inheritance," in Studies Jacobsen 

9 Paul-Alain Beaulieu, "Cuts of Meat for King Nebuchadnezzar," NABU 1990/93. 

if Gilbert J. P. McEwan, "Distribution of Meat in Eanna," Iraq 45 (1983) 187-98, esp. 194. 
For some of the anatomical terms in the text, see also Hallo, "Carcasses for the Capital," in 
Studies Veenhof 161—71. 

11 Heinrich Otten, "Kopien von Keilschrifttexten (bei den Hethitern)," RIA 6 (1980-83) 211; 
Dietz O. Edzard, "Konigsinschriften. 6. Abschriften," RIA 6 64 f; cf. Hallo, review of RIA 6/3^4 
in BiOr 41 (1984) 124-6, esp. 125. 


Another Ancient Antiquary 

in Ur by the son of an exorcist. 12 It could represent the late copy of a genuine 
archival text or simply a late example of royal correspondence, which was 
routinely included in the canonical curriculum of the scribal schools in the 
second millennium. 

The situation with indubitably canonical texts is similar: there are few late 
copies, that is, in the sense of copies made not by routine copying of relatively 
recent "Vorlagen" in the normal course of scribal activity but from originals 
retrieved after a long interval. A rare case of this type is represented by the 
Old Babylonian t i g i to Nintu(r), rededicated to Ninurta in a neo-Assyrian 
copy that I published in 1989. 13 It includes a colophon that reads: "Copy of 
Nippur, written and collated according to its original." 

Examples of late copies of monumental inscriptions are considerably 
more common and will be surveyed here before illustrating them with one 
from the Morgan Library Collection at Yale. The survey is only illustrative 
and not intended to be exhaustive. 

"A lost statue from Mari," or what Sollberger called "as far as I am 
aware, the earliest text ever copied by a Neo-Babylonian scribe," may well 
be the earliest text ever copied by any ancient Mesopotamian scribe to have 
come down to us; according to its colophon, it was found in antiquity in the 
Ebabbar temple of Sippar, and that is presumably its modern provenience as 
well. The scribe has carefully reproduced the "clearly pre-Sargonic script" 
of the original. 14 

Sargonic inscriptions in Old Babylonian copies from Ur, Nippur, and 
elsewhere occur in considerable numbers. They have been conveniently as- 
sembled by Gelb and Kienast. 15 Neo-Babylonian copies of Sargonic inscrip- 
tions are less common, and the "cruciform monument of Manistusu" is in 
a category by itself, since the original of its Neo-Babylonian copies is a 
creation of the Old Babylonian period or later. 16 

The three inscriptions of the Gutian ruler Erridupizir are known from a 
single Old Babylonian Sammeltafel. 11 

Neo-Sumerian royal inscriptions are known in Old Babylonian copies 
both in standard format 18 and in abbreviated form (i.e., with only the 

12 Hans Neumann, "Ein Brief an Konig Sulgi in einer spaten Abschrift," AoF 19 (1992) 29-39 
and pi. i; new translation by Piotr Michalowski, Letters from Early Mesopotamia (SBLWAW 3; 
Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1993) no. 242. 

13 Hallo, "Nippur Originals," in Studies Sjoberg 237^17; see 239 f. andnn. 3CM15 for additional 

14 Edmond Sollberger, "Lost Inscriptions from Mari," in CRRAI 15 (1967) 103-7 and pi. i, 
esp. 103. 

15 I.J. Gelb and B. Kienast, Die altakkadischen Konigsinschriften des dritten Jahrtausends 
v. Chr. (FAOS 7; Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1990) 129-292. 

16 E. Sollberger, "The Cruciform Monument," JEOL 20 (1967-68) 50-70. 

17 Gelb and Kienast, Die altakkadischen Konigsinschriften 300-16. 

1 8 Note the following in Hallo, "The Royal Inscriptions of Ur: a Bibliography," HUCA 33 ( 1 962) 


William W. Hallo 

beginnings of each line given), 19 a format better known from literary texts. 20 
Occasionally, Old Babylonian copies will contain both Sargonic and Neo- 
Sumerian inscriptions. This is notably the case with the copy of the inscription 
on the disc of Enheduanna appended to a copy of two inscriptions of Ibbi- 
Sin at Ur, as first noted by Sollberger. 21 It was possibly also true of the 
Sammeltafel containing at least two inscriptions of Sulgi. 22 

Neo-Babylonian copies of originals of Neo-Sumerian date can be illus- 
trated by "Sulgi 24" = CT 9 3a, 23 possibly by a much garbled version of 
"Amar-Sin 3," 24 and by the inscription of (N)itlal-Erra of Mari. 25 One may 
also note the Neo-Babylonian colophon on the copy of an inscription on what 
may have been an Ur III brick. 26 

Isin Dynasty inscriptions began to be copied before the end of Old 
Babylonian times. By way of example, one may cite Iddin-Dagan 2, 27 Isme- 
Dagan 6, 28 Isme-Dagan 8, 29 Isme-Dagan 15, 30 Ur-Ninurta 2, 31 Enlil-bani 2, 32 
Enlil-bani 8, 33 and Enlil-bani ll. 34 

Neo-Babylonian copies of Old Babylonian royal inscriptions are scarcer 
but may be illustrated by a single clay tablet, probably from Borsippa, bearing 
a colophon and the familiar text of Sin-kasid 8. 35 

1^3: Ur-Nammu 27 ii. The status of Ur-Nammu 37 has been disputed by Esther Fliickiger- 
Hawker, Urnamma ofUr in Sumerian Literary Tradition (OBO 1 66; Fribourg: University Press, 
1 999) 297 (Urnamma H), who thinks it is "mistakenly considered as a royal inscription." Sulgi 4 
ii; 54; Amar-Sin 3 ii; Su-Sin 20. Add especially Douglas R. Frayne, Ur III Period (2112-2004) 
(RIME 3/2; Toronto: University of Toronto, 1997) 295-320 = Su-Sin 1-9. 
w Miguel Civil, "On Some Texts Mentioning Ur-Namma," OrNS 54 (1985) 27—45, esp. 37-45. 

20 Hallo, "The Concept of Canonicity in Cuneiform and Biblical Literature: A Comparative 
Appraisal," SIC 4 (1991) 1-19, esp. 9 and n. 94. 

21 E. Sollberger, RA 63 (1969) 180 no. 16. 

22 CT 44 2+ (BM 7868 1+). So according to Gelb and Kienast, Die altakkadischen Konigsin- 
schriften 132. Differently Frayne, RIME 3/2 133-5. For the dating of the copy cf. Piotr 
Michalowski, "The Earliest Hurrian Toponymy: a New Sargonic Inscription," ZA 76 (1986) 
4-11, esp. 8 and n. 9; previously Hallo, review of CT 44, JCS 19 (1965) 57 f. 

23 Frayne, RIME 3/2 132f; colophon: Hermann Hunger, Babylonische und assyrische Kolo- 
phone (AOAT 2; Kevelaer: Verlag Butzon & Bercker, 1968) no. 442. 

24 Newly edited by Frayne, RIME 3/2 256 f as Amar-Sin 11. Colophon: Hunger, Kolophone 
no. 73. 

25 Sollberger, "Lost Inscriptions," 105-7 = Frayne, RIME 3/2 448 f. 

26 Giorgio Buccellati and Robert D. Biggs, Cuneiform Texts from Nippur: the Eighth and Ninth 
Seasons (AS 17; Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1969) no. 32. 

27 Douglas R. Frayne, Old Babylonian Period (2003-1595 BC) (RIMB 4; Toronto: University 
of Toronto, 1990) 23 f For Iddin-Dagan 3 see below. 

28 Frayne, RIMB 4 33-5. 

29 Frayne, RIMB 4 36-8. 

30 Frayne, RIMB 4 45 f. 

31 Frayne, RIMB 4 66-8. 

3 2 TIM 9 37 (Frayne, RIMB 4 78 f.) 

33 Frayne, RIMB 4 84. 

34 Frayne, RIMB 4 86. 

35 CT 21 14 = Frayne, RIMB 4 453 f; for colophon see also Hunger, Kolophone no. 419. 


Another Ancient Antiquary 

Kassite inscriptions are known in Neo-Babylonian copies 36 as well as 
in copies of uncertain date. 37 Even the Neo-Babylonian rulers are repre- 
sented in the dossier, with copies of inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar 38 and 
Nabonidus. 39 

III. Duplicate Late Copies 

The latest originals to be cited here come from the Second Dynasty of Isin 
and the Tenth (last) Dynasty of Babylon (the Chaldaeans). They share both 
characteristics of Leichty's tablet (above): they are duplicates and late copies. 

The votive inscription of Adad-apal-iddina first identified by Gadd from 
a bilingual Neo-Assyrian copy, 40 proved to have a duplicate; both duplicates 
were newly edited by Borger. 41 

Nabonidus, the last independent ruler of Babylonia, is represented by two 
duplicate late copies of one and the same inscription, 42 although in at least 
one case Beaulieu thinks we may be dealing with what "may have been either 
a copy or a draft of the inscription." 43 

IV. Explaining Late Copies 

In his survey of late copies of royal inscriptions, Edzard suggested a variety 
of possible motives for their creation: reporting the find, intentional or 
otherwise, of an older inscription in the course of (re)building a monumental 
building and preserving the text of the inscription before the original was 
reinterred; inventorying monuments on public display or in storage; or, 
simply, scribal training. 44 More recently, Gerdien Jonker suggested that the 
copying of monuments had relatively less to do with these motives and 
more with focusing on those royal role models who served the copyists' 

36 E.g., CT 9 3b = Brinkman, MSKH (1976) 212:Q.2.11; colophon: Hunger, Kolophone no. 
443, and see Paul-Alain Beaulieu, The Reign of Nabonidus King of Babylon 556-539 B.C. 
(YNER 10; New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1989) 142 (Kurigalzu). 

37 E.g., Brinkman, MSKH 212:Q.2.12; 224:Q.2.66.2; 209:Q.2.1.1(?) and 2. 

38 UET 8 103; colophon: Hunger, Kolophone no. 73a. 

39 See below n. 42. 

40 C.J. Gadd, "On Two Babylonian Kings," StOr 1 (1925) 25-33, esp. 27-33. 

41 Rykle Borger, Ein Brief Sin-idinnams von Larsa an den Sonnengott sowie Bemerkungen uber 
"Joins " unddas "Joinen " (Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Gottingen I. Phil.- 
hist.Klasse 1991/2; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1991) 29f. 

42 CT 34 23-25 = 26-37; colophons: Hunger, Kolophone no. 493 (Nabonidus). 

43 CT 34 23-25. See Beaulieu, Nabonidus 34 f. (Inscription 16). 

44 Edzard, "Konigsinschriften" 64; on the last point see more recently Jacob Klein, "On 
Writing Monumental Inscriptions in Ur III Scribal Curriculum," RA 80 (1986) 1-7; Mamoru 
Yoshikawa, "m a s - d a r a and s a g - 1 a g," ASJ 1 1 (1989) 353-5. 


William W. Hallo 

"construction of the past." 45 According to her, the same motivation still 
operated in first-millennium Babylonia, when both kings and commoners 
actively sought out Sargonic and Neo-Sumerian monuments as they reported 
in the colophons of their copies. 46 Some interesting examples are furnished 
by what appear to be Neo-Babylonian copies from Babylon of inscriptions 
commemorating the (re)construction of a temple to Istar in Zabala by Naram- 
Sin 47 and Sar-kali-sarri respectively 48 

Some Old Babylonian copies, however, did have a more practical motive. 
Thus, for example, a clay tablet from Nippur records the fact that Enlil-bani 
of Isin had two statues of his predecessor Iddin-Dagan moved from Isin 
to Nippur, and then adds what appears to be the text of the inscription on 
these statues. 49 Similarly, a large clay tablet, presumably from Larsa, records 
the two letter-prayers to Utu, patron deity of Larsa and its dynasty, that 
Sin-iddinam of Larsa entrusted to the statue of his father and immediate 
predecessor Nur-Adad, together with what is presumably a copy of the texts 
inscribed on the statues. 50 

But a further motivation should not be overlooked. By Neo-Babylonian 
times, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia had a keen appreciation of the an- 
tiquity of their civilization and, like modern-day Assyriologists, harbored 
a purely antiquarian interest in their past. This interest was indulged most 
notably by the Chaldaean kings, as long ago argued by Goossens and more 
recently by Beaulieu. 51 But it was shared as well by scribes, priests, and 
private citizens to judge by the colophons. This was first shown by Clay, 
who called the Babylonian scribe Nabu-zer-Hsir "an ancient antiquary" for 
making a copy of a Sar-kali-sarri inscription; 52 the same scribe copied a 
Kurigalzu brick during the reign of Nabonidus. 53 It was confirmed by Gadd 

45 Gerdien Jonker, The Topography of Remembrance: the Dead, Tradition and Collective 
Memory in Mesopotamia (Studies in the History of Religions 68; Leiden: Brill, 1995) 109-32, 
esp. 110 andn. 2. 

46 Jonker, Topography 1 53 f. 

47 D. Frayne, Sargonic and Gutian Periods (2334-2113) (RIME 2; Toronto: University of 
Toronto, 1993) 139 f. 

48 E. Sollberger, "A New Inscription of Sar-kali-sarri," in Studies Diakonoff (1982) 345-8; 
D. Frayne, "Notes on a New Inscription of Sar-kali-sarri," ARRIM 2 (1984) 23-7; and Frayne, 
RIME 2 192^1. 

49 Iddin-Dagan 3 and Enlil-bani 1 1 = Frayne, RIMB 4 24 f. and 86; Douglas Frayne, "New 
Light on the Reign of Isme-Dagan," ZA 88 (1998) 6^14, esp. 26. 

50 J. van Dijk, "Une insurrection generale au pays de Larsa avant l'avenement de Nur-Adad," 
JCS 19 (1965) 1-25. 

51 G. Goossens, "Les recherches historiques a l'epoque neo-babylonienne" RA 42 (1948) 
149-59; Beaulieu, Nabonidus 130f, 138-43. 

52 Albert T. Clay, "An Ancient Antiquary," MJ 3 (1912) 23-5. Re-edited by Frayne, RIME 2 
197 f. For the colophon, see also Beaulieu, Nabonidus 141 f. 

53 Beaulieu, Nabonidus 142; cf. above n. 35. 


Another Ancient Antiquary 

with his publication of the Adad-apal-iddina votive inscription copied by 
Arad-Gula the Assyrian exorcist, 54 and is demonstrated again by the tablet 
to be discussed below. 

V. A Late Copy from the Morgan Library Collection 

In 1962 I first called attention to MLC 2075, a late copy of Ur-Nammu's 
eight-line brick inscription from Uruk in the Morgan Library Collection at 
Yale, and in 1997 transliterated its colophon for Frayne's compendium. 55 It 
is here presented in copy (Figs. 1 and 2) and renewed transliteration. 

d Inanna / nin-a-ni / Ur- d Nammu / nita kala-ga / lugal uri5 ki -ma / lugal ki-en-gi 
ki-uri-ke4 // e-a-ni / mu-na-du /// ki-i pi-i I SIG4. r AL\UR.RA / LIBIR.RA sa 
E. AN.NA / M AMAR.UD-SES-;> / A ! Ub-m-Vs-tar I us-bal-kit 

A few comments will suffice. The original inscription, found only on bricks, 
says "For Inanna his lady, Ur-Nammu the strong male, the king of Ur, the 
king of Sumer and Akkad, built her house." It commemorates the (re)building 
of the Eanna, the principal temple of Uruk, for Inanna, the principal deity of 
Uruk, by Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur. I listed four 
published duplicates of the original inscription in 1962, Frayne added fifteen 
more in 1997, and undoubtedly additional duplicates will come to light in 
the future. 

Less common, though by no means unique, is the colophon of the late 
copy: "According to the text of an old baked brick of Eanna, Marduk-nasir, 
son of Ibni-Istar, copied (it)." Other examples of subalkutu in the sense of 
"to copy (a text)," occur, 56 although Black takes the view that this sense is 
more commonly conveyed by nasahu. 51 

The most intriguing aspect of the text may well be the drawing etched 
under the colophon. It should probably be looked at as oriented parallel to 
the lines of writing, not perpendicular to them, in keeping with the direction 
of writing in the time of the original (Ur III). On this assumption, the likeliest 
answer to the question of what it represents may be the side of a chair. 

Long ago in a letter to Armas Salonen, I put the following suggestion 
to him: "it looks a little like the side view of a chair with its gistu as in the 
seated Gudea of the type illustrated on Plate X of your work [Die Mobel 
des alten Mesopotamien (1963)]. Although my inscription does not seem 

54 Cf. above nn. 37 f. 

55 Hallo, "The Royal Inscriptions of Ur" 25; Frayne, RIME 3/2 70. 

56 See CAD N/1 1 8d. For a related use of subalkutu see Hans Hirsch, "elis ana saplis usbalkit,' 
Af0 2\ (1966)34. 

57 J. A. Black, "Nasahu 'to copy,'" RA 79 (1985) 92 f. 


William W. Hallo 

to come from the pedestal of a statue, I have been unable to come up with 
any other solution." 58 In reply, Salonen said: "The design seems to me to 
be interpreted as you mentioned in your letter. If it would come from the 
pedestal of a statue, one would understand it. Now it seems to be a bit odd 
since it has nothing to do with a pedestal." 59 

In forty years I have not been able to improve on my suggestion. Some 
support for it, however, occurs in the representation of chairs not or not fully 
illustrated in Salonen 's volume. One is found under a headless statue from the 
"Old Sumerian Palace" at Kis and first published by Langdon; the rear view 
of the chair is incised with two designs quite similar in shape to the design 
on MLC 2075. 60 Another occurs on a seal from Pu-abi's tomb-chamber in 
Pre-Sargonic Ur, this time with the curved lines disposed in a horizontal 



For his contribution to the Festschrift in my honor, Erie Leichty chose 
to present "an unusual artifact from the University Museum collections" on 
the grounds that I have "been known to publish curiosities from the Yale 
Babylonian collections." 62 At the time I wrote him: "I can only hope that 
when you become a senior citizen like me, I can find something equally 
intriguing from the Babylonian Collection to tickle your fancy" 63 It seems 
only fitting to do so with an addition to the roster of ancient antiquaries that 
was begun by the first curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection from a find 
made at the University Museum. 

58 My letter of 8-22-63. 

59 His letter of 8-30-63. 

60 See the photographs published by P.R. S. Moorey, "The 'Piano-Convex Building' at Kish 
and Early Mesopotamian Places," Iraq 26 (1964) 83-98 and pis. xxi-xxv, esp. pi. xxiii. 

61 Latest publication in Richard L. Zettler and Lee Home, eds., Treasures from the Royal Tombs 
of Ur (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 
1998) 77, fig. 17B, upper register; cf. Salonen, Mobel pi. xxiii 1 i. 

62 Erie Leichty, "Sheep Lungs," in Studies Hallo 132 f. 
« My letter of 5-16-1993. 


Another Ancient Antiquary 

Fig. 1. MLC 2075 obv. 


William W. Hallo 

Fig. 2. MLC 2075 rev. 


Atsuko Hattori 


Nippur, located about 1 80 kilometers south of modern Baghdad is the site 
of the first American archaeological expedition to the Middle East. The 
site has a long history extending from the late Neolithic period (ca. 5000 
BC) to the Islamic period (ca. 800) within the city wall. 1 In addition to 
providing a stratigraphical sequence that serves as the chronological scale 
for Mesopotamian sites, Nippur produced a wealth of cuneiform documents 
which are housed in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archae- 
ology and Anthropology, the Ancient Orient Museum at Istanbul, the Iraq 
Museum, the Frau Professor Hilprecht Sammlung of the Friedrich Schiller 
Universitat Jena, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and 
the Yale Babylonian Collection, to name the major collections. The dates 
of Nippur cuneiform texts range from the late Early Dynastic period to 
the Achaemenid period; they are exceptionally valuable for the Ur III pe- 
riod since they were excavated by scientific expeditions rather than by 
clandestine diggers, which is the typical route of Ur III texts to modern 

Sumerian literary texts, both from Nippur and other sites, indicate that 
Nippur played an important role as the city of Enlil, the supreme god of the 
Sumerian pantheon. The ziggurat complex of Enlil, the temple of Inanna, 
and other large temple structures found on the site corroborate the textual 
evidence. Maintaining the temples was a major concern of ancient rulers 
of Sumer and Akkad who claimed divine legitimacy to rule the land. 2 The 
concern for temples and their rituals in the Ur III period is easily observed 
in tens of thousands of administrative texts from Drehem, Lagas, Nippur, 
Umma, and Ur that record the movement of large quantities of grain, animals, 
and workers to temples as well as a variety of legal and economic activities 
at both state and local levels. 

1 * I thank Professor R. L. Zettler for valuable advice, Dr. F. W. Knobloch for editorial help and 
Mr. K. Danti for photographic help. 

See J. Klein, M. Gibson, D. P. Hansen, M. Stol, M. P. Streck, and R. L. Zettler "Nippur," RIA 
9 532-65 for a recent study of the history and archaeology of Nippur and bibliographies. 

2 Already in the late Early Dynastic period, Lugal-zagesi of Uruk claimed the divine origin 
of his kingship. For a more comprehensive description and bibliography, see Klein, "Nippur" 
534 f. 


Atsuko Hattori 

At the local level these activities were ultimately controlled by the ensi, 
usually translated "governor," an office that is attested at Nippur from the 
late Early Dynastic period. 3 In the Akkadian period three ensis are securely 
attested: Uru-na-bad-bi, Lugal-ni-zu, and Nam-mah-abzu. Lugal-ni-zu is 
known to have been a rebel against Naram-Sin. However, further references 
to the activities of Sargonic ensis are sporadic at best. 

It is in the Ur III period that more substantial information about ensis' 
activities becomes available. Research by W. W. Hallo and R. L. Zettler shows 
that the history of Ur III Nippur revolves around two main power centers, 
the royal family and a local elite family, the House of Ur-Me-me. 4 The patri- 
arch Ur-Me-me was the sabra(PA.E)- d Inanna, 5 "chief administrator of (the 
Temple of) Inanna," in Nippur. He was the father of at least three brothers, 
Lugal-engar-duio, who became the ensi of Nippur and whose offspring suc- 
ceeded him in that position; d En-lil-a-mah, who succeeded Ur-Me-me as the 
chief administrator of the Inanna Temple; and Lugal-a-zi-da, whose role has 
not yet been established. The governorship was controlled by the family line 
of Lugal-engar-duio (Table 1), possibly to the end of the Ur III control of Nip- 
pur, 6 and the Inanna Temple was controlled by the line of d En-lil-a-mah. Also, 
Ur-Me-me 's granddaughter, the daughter of d En-lil-a-mah, d Inanna-ka, was 
married to an en-priest of Enlil, Ka-ku-ga-ni, so the Ur-Me-me family made 
its way into the Temple of Enlil as well. 7 Zettler has shown that the Ur-Me-me 
family controlled the Temple of Inanna from the reign of Sulgi at the latest 
to the early years of Ibbi-Sin, and possibly even into the Isin/Larsa period. 8 

3 For example, see Steible, ABW 2 223-7 for the Early Dynastic period. See also RIME 2 
244-6 for the Akkadian period. 

4 W.W. Hallo, "The House of Ur-Me-me," JNES 3 1 (1972) 87-95; R. Zettler, "The House of 
Ur-Me-me: A Second Look," AfO 31 (1984) 1-9. 

5 For the reading sabra(PA.E) and references, see CAD S /l 14. Translation here follows 
I. J. Gelb, "Household and Family in Early Mesopotamia," in State and Temple Economy in the 
Ancient Near East I (ed. E. Lipinski; OLA 5; Leuven: Department Orientalistiek, 1979) 16, 
followed by R. Zettler, The Ur III Temple of Inanna at Nippur (BBVO 11; Berlin: Dietrich 
Reimer Verlag, 1992) 177 n. 1. 

6 The last ensi of Nippur, Da-da, who is a descendant of Ur-Me-me, is last attested in a dated 
Nippur text to IS/2/iv. See J.-M. Durand, "Une condamnation a mort a l'epoque d'Ur III," RA 
71 (1977) 125-36 and the revision of the translation of the same text by M. T Roth, "Appendix: 
A Reassessment of RA 71 (1977) 125ff.,"4/D 31 (1981) 9-14. Da-da's name still appears in a 
reverential seal of his subject used on a Nippur text (Ni 2109, published as NRVN 1 no. 118) 
dated to IS 8. See Zettler, "A Second Look" 5. 

7 In addition, both her brother Lugal-engar-duio and her father d En-lil-a-mah were also 
designated as nu-es-priests of Enlil in the seal of Lugal-engar-duio, although the nu-es was not 
a high-ranking priest. See R. Zettler, review of Briggs Buchanan, Early Near Eastern Seals in 
the Yale Babylonian Collection, JNES 46 (1987) 60. 

8 The last securely attested chief administrator of the Inanna Temple, Sag- d En-lil-la, may have 
been active even early in the reign of Isbi-Erra. If Na-bi- d En-lil, known only through literary 
texts, actually succeeded Sag- d En-lil-la in the position, the House of Ur-Me-me lasted long 
into the Isin/Larsa period, seemingly unaffected by the fall of the Ur III Dynasty. See Zettler, 
"Second Look" 9 and n. 53. 


The Return of the Governor 
Table 1. Ur III Dynasts and Nippur Ensis 


Chronological Range 
of Ensi 

Nippur Ensi 







Lugal-engar-duio son of Ur-Me-me 


S 35 -S 44 (or 45) 

Ur- d Nanibgal son of Lugal-engar- 
du 1() 



AS l/xi/3-AS9/xi/27 




Ur- d Nanibgal son of Lugal-engar- 
du 1() 



Nam-zi-tar-ra son of Ur-dNanibgal 


SS 5/ix/2 - 

Da-da son of Ur- d Nanibgal 



IS 2/iv (possibly IS 8) 

Although each generation of the Ur-Me-me family, starting from Lugal- 
engar-duio, controlled Nippur's governorship, there was a time when the 
family seems to have been alienated from the control of Nippur, probably 
by an Ur III dynast. During the reign of Amar-Suen, a certain Lugal- 
me-lam, who has no known affiliation with the Ur-Me-me family, served 
as ensi-governor of Nippur. His tenure is attested from AS l/XI/3 9 to 
AS 9/XI/27. 10 While individuals called Lugal-me-lam are attested in various 
cities, including Nippur, so far this Lugal-me-lam, the ensi of Nippur, has not 
been securely tied to any particular city, title, or family in the Ur III period 
before he took the office of ensi in Nippur. 11 

Equally unclear is the exact succession of ensis. The existence of ensi 
Lugal-engar-duio is known only by the seal legend of Ur- d Nanibgal. He is 
placed any time before or in Sulgi 35, simply because that is the oldest 
mention of Ur- d Nanibgal. 12 There is a lacuna of three or four years between 
the last attested date of Ur- d Nanibgal's tenure (S 44) 13 and the earliest attested 
date of Lugal-me-lam 's tenure (AS l/xi/3), and of about five years between the 
last attested date of Lugal-me-lam (AS 9/xi/27) and the earliest attested date 

9 YOS4 68. 

10 Fish, Rylands Library 400. 

11 However, the seal impression of Lugal-me-lam is found on HS 1334, a poorly preserved 
case fragment. According to the inscription, besides being the ensi of Nippur, he is titled as 
dub-sar-za-ga and son of [. . .]- d En-lil who is a dub-sar-gi(,-[par] of N[ippur.] This may suggest 
that his family was located in Nippur for two generations at least. But if so, our evidence is 
strangely lacking for this important local elite family. See RIME 3/2 279 f. for transliteration, 
translation, and bibliography. As far as I know, this is the only attestation of dub-sar-za-ga in 
the Ur III text corpus. 

i 2 6 NT 606 + 6 NT 648 + 6 NT 687 + 6 NT 688 + 6 NT 902 (IM 61716). See Zettler, Ur III 
Temple 292-4. 

13 N. Schneider, "Das Drehem- und Djohaarchiv, 2. Heft: Der Gotterkult (1. Teil)," OSP 18 
(1925) no. 6. 


Atsuko Hattori 

of Da-da (SS 5/ix/2). 14 Da-da's predecessor, Nam-zi-tar-ra, who apparently 
had a short tenure, did not leave any dated document, and it has been assumed 
that he took office almost as soon as Su-Sin came to the throne. 15 

A fragmentary text, CBS 11788, which is published below, adds some 
information about the order of ensis and insight into the possible power 
struggle between the House of Ur-Me-me and the royal family. 16 It is a 
pleasure to dedicate this brief article to Professor Erie V Leichty, who has 
long recognized the importance of open access to tablet collections. Without 
this policy this small fragment would not have come to my attention. 

Text and Discussion 

CBS 1 1788 (photo: Fig. 1; copy: Fig. 2) is the bottom half of a medium size 
single-column tablet, measuring 5.7 x 3.9 x 2.5 cm. The obverse is completely 
destroyed. The reverse preserves a seal impression rolled vertically, that is, 
perpendicular to the direction of writing. 17 The lines and text were added 
after the seal was applied. Traces of fringes of the worshipper's garment 
and other unidentifiable traces are preserved among the signs. Below the seal 
impression only three ruled lines of text are preserved so it is understandable 
why this text remained unpublished. 
The text reads: 

Obv. destroyed. 


1' [lii i]nim-ma- r bi~ l -[me] 

2' [ iti gan-g]an- r e' 1 

3' [mil ma] r dara n -ab-zu / [...] x [...] 

The seal legend reads: 
(Column i broken away.) 

14 YOS 4 77. T. Maeda cites an animal delivery receipt, AUCT 3 179, dated to SS 2/ii/ll 
(Dr) for the earliest attestation of Nippur ensi Da-da: T. Maeda, "Father of Akala and Dadaga, 
governor of Umma, "ASJ 12 (1990) 71. However, the text simply calls him ensi and does not 
mention the city. If the name can be reconstructed as [d]a-da, quite possibly this is Da-da, ensi 
of A.HA ki , attested in another Drehem text. It is also a receipt of delivery of animals and is 
published in Speleers, Recueil no. 1 12 (AS 8/iii/25). 

15 Hallo, "Ur-Me-me" 94; Zettler, "Second Look" 4-5. 

16 I thank Professors B.L. Eichler and S. Tinney for permission to publish CBS 1 1788. 

17 For the terminology, see A. Hattori, "Sealing Practices of Ur III Nippur," in CRRAI 45/2 
(2001) 79 f. 


The Return of the Governor 

Column ii: 

1' [lu]gal- r engar n -[duio] 

2' ens[i] 

3' nibru ki -k[a ? ] 

4' arad-z[u] 

Date SS 2 (or possibly 3)/IX/NPS (Ni) 


Ln. 3': Note the unorthodox spelling ab-zu instead of abzu (ZU.AB). The 
same spelling also appears in a sale document N 669 (SS 3/np/np). 18 The 
unidentifiable sign x preserves two oblique lines that merge at the right end. 
About five short vertical lines seem to cross the lower oblique line on its left 
part, but this is not certain. The left part of the sign seems box-shaped, but it 
is badly effaced. 

Date: SS 2 = mu d Su- d Sin lugal uri5 ki -ma-ke4 ma dara-abzu d en-ki in-dim 

It is possible that the phrase mu-us-sa, "the year that follows," follows 
the year name for SS 2 in the damaged area, changing it to SS 3, although 
this is unlikely judging from the position of the last illegible sign. 

Seal: The size of the sealing is 3.3 cm (with caps) or 2.7 cm (without 
caps) x 1.97 (+) cm. 

The seal legend can be fully reconstructed by using CBS 9540, 19 CBS 
1 1788, and Ni 1 19920 as follows: 



d sul-gi 



[n]ita kala-ga 

mighty man, 


[lugjal uri 5 [ ki ]-ma 

King of Ur, 


r lugaP [ki]-[e]n-g[i] r ki"4uri] 

King of the lands of Sumer and Akkad, 



u[r]- rdn nanibgal 

Ur- d Nanibgal, 





nibru[ ki ] 

of Nippur, 


dumu lugal-engar-duio 

son of Lugal-engar-duio, 





nibru ki -k[a] 

of Nippur, 



your servant. 

18 P. Steinkeller, Sale Documents of the Ur-III-period (FAOS 17; Stuttgart: F. Steiner Verlag 
1989) no. 23. 

19 Hattori, "Sealing Practices" fig. 10. 

20 NRVN 1 no. 50, photo p. 1 15. 


Atsuko Hattori 

As suggested by the content and the use of a seal, this is a legal document, 
most likely recording a sale. Specifically, it is similar to some of the Nippur 
sale documents published by P. Steinkeller. 21 

Elsewhere I have discussed sealing practices on Ur III Nippur adminis- 
trative texts. 22 CBS 1 1788 presents a good case for the value of both text and 
sealing practices, which may enable the identification of fragmentary texts 
that tend to be ignored. 

While sealing practices at Nippur are in general the same as on other Ur III 
administrative documents presented by Steinkeller, 23 there is a group of sale 
documents from Nippur that presents an interesting method of sealing. These 
texts record the transaction of valuable items, such as an orchard or a slave, 
and are sealed by an authorizer of high social status, such as a royal judge or 
ensi of Nippur. 24 The authorizer rolled his seal only once in the center of the 
reverse of the tablet, prominently showing its full iconography as well as the 
lengthy legend with a reverential phrase to the king. This sealing method is 
very different from that seen on ordinary Ur III administrative texts, which 
are usually sealed in two or three rows vertically, several times in each row, 
generally emphasizing the seal legend. On such tablets the iconography is 
usually preserved only in the area adjacent to the seal legend, if it is not shown 
on the edges and center of the reverse. CBS 1 1788 preserves the same sealing 
method as the one found on the special group of Nippur sale documents. In 
fact, three of them, like CBS 1 1788, are sealed by Ur- d Nanibgal. 

Ur- d Nanibgal, who followed his father Lugal-engar-duio, ensi of Nippur 
and son of Ur-Me-me, as chief administrator of the temple of Inanna in 
Nippur, is known to have been an ensi during the reign of Sulgi as early as 

21 P. Steinkeller, Sale Documents nos. 66*, 66**, 66***. A similar sealing method is used 
also on CBS 5136 (BE 3/1 no. 14; Steinkeller, Sale Documents no. 1) and HS 1053 (TuM 
1/2 53; Steinkeller, Sale Documents no. 20). HS 1053 seems to bear a seal of the son of the 
enigmatic ensi Lugal-me-lam. His function in the text cannot be determined. The text deals 
with a self-sale of an entire family, namely the couple and their three children, for 2/3 mina 3 
sheqels of silver. Except for the names of each member of this family, no other personal names, 
including those of the buyer and witnesses, are preserved. 

22 Hattori, "Sealing Practices." 

23 Steinkeller, "Seal Practice in the Ur III Period," in Seals and Sealing in the Ancient Near 
East (ed. M. Gibson and R.D. Biggs; BiMes 6; Malibu, Calif: Undena Publications, 1977) 

24 CBS 5136 (Steinkeller, Sale Documents no. 1) is sealed by the royal judge Ur- d Dumu-zi-da. 
HS 1053 (Steinkeller, Sale Documents no. 20) is sealed by the son of the ensi, Lugal-me-lam, 
but his name is not preserved. IM 43456 (Steinkeller, Sale Documents no. 66) is sealed by 
ensi Da-da, and CBS 9540 (Steinkeller, Sale Documents no. 66*), HS 1346 (Steinkeller, Sale 
Documents no. 66**), and Ni 1199 (Steinkeller, Sale Documents no. 66***) are sealed by 
the ensi Ur- d Nanibgal. The sealing method of IM 43456 has not been confirmed since the 
publication of the fragmentary tablet did not show the reverse at all. The publication of Ni 1 199 
contains a copy of the obverse and a photograph of the reverse and seems to be the same style 
as the others. The sealing style of HS 1346 was confirmed by Professor M. Krebernik as being 
the same as that of CBS 5163, CBS 9450, and HS 1053. 


The Return of the Governor 

S 35 and as late as S 44. 25 We do not know the particulars of the transition, 
but his successor Lugal-me-lam was in the position for almost all of the reign 
of Amar-Suen (AS l/IX/3 - AS 9/XI/27). The next datable mention of an 
identifiable ensi of Nippur is found in YOS 4 77:4 (SS 5/IX/2) recording an 
offering from Da-da. However, Nam-zi-tar-ra, Da-da's brother and another 
son of Ur- d Nanibgal, is known to have been an ensi of Nippur in the time of 
Su-Sin as evidenced by his seal impression on undated tablets. 26 Thus, his 
tenure is inserted between that of Lugal-me-lam and Da-da. 

Our text, CBS 11788, suggests that Ur- d Nanibgal was back to his position 
in SS 2 after Lugal-me-lam had left, probably before his son Nam-zi-tar-ra 
took the office of ensi. There is other evidence that supports this theory. Nam- 
zi-tar-ra had at least two seals that appear on the undated texts mentioned 
above. One is applied to a letter-order, Ni 372, which was sent to a Habalule. 27 
Its seal inscription reads: 

(i) 1 d su- d sin 

2 lugal kala-ga 

3 lugal uri5 ki -ma 

4 lugal an-ub-da-limmu-ba 

(ii) 5 nam-zi-tar-ra 

6 dumu ur- d nanibgal 

7 ensi 

8 nibru ki -ka 

9 arad-[zu?] 


mighty king, 

King of Ur, 

King of the Four Quarters, 


son of Ur- d Nanibgal, 


of Nippur, 

[your?] servant. 

The other one also appears on a letter-order, CBS 9766, 28 and its seal 
inscription reads: 




[ d ]su- d s!n 

ki-ag d en-lil-la 

lugal kala-ga 

lugal uri 5 ki -ma 

lugal an-ub-da-limmu-ba 


beloved of Enlil, 

mighty king, 

King of Ur, 

King of the Four Quarters 







nibru ki 

dumu ur- d nanibgal 


of Nippur 

son of Ur- d Nanibgal, 

25 See footnotes 11 and 12. 

26 See below. 

27 TCS 1 no. 73. The following transliteration and translation are adapted from those of 
E. Sollberger, which in turn were based on a transliteration by F. R. Kraus. 

28 D. Owen, "Miscellanea Neo-Sumerica, I — III," in Studies Gordon 1 3 1 — 4. The original of 
CBS 9766 (cast) belongs to the Istanbul Museum, but its museum number is unknown. 


Atsuko Hattori 

10 ensi ensi 

11 nibru ki -ka of Nippur, 

12 arad-[zu?] [your?] servant. 

The fact that only the latter identifies him as ensi seems to imply that Nam- 
zi-tar-ra was not ensi when the first seal was made. He probably became an 
ensi later, and then the second seal was made. He succeeded his father in the 
position at the latest by sometime in SS 5, before Da-da took office. 

It is suspected that Lugal-me-lam was brought in by Amar-Suen, who 
tried to tighten royal control of Nippur. 29 Lugal-me-lam was associated with 
the royal family, especially the princess Sat-Sin, a daughter of Sulgi. 30 The 
suggestion of a strong connection between Lugal-me-lam and Amar-Suen is 
also supported by the fact that he disappears from the record after the reign 
of Amar-Suen, his last mention dating to AS 9/XI/27. 31 According to his 
seal inscription, 32 he was also a dub-sar-za-ga, a scribe of high rank known 
to have engaged in the assessment of taxes in the Old Babylonian period 
and to have been connected with the king in both the Middle Babylonian 
and Neo-Babylonian periods. 33 Perhaps, then, Lugal-me-lam was originally 
a high-ranking royal official in Nippur. 

It is very likely that as Amar-Suen 's power faded away, the old guard of 
Nippur came back. Ur- d Nanibgal apparently outlived the king and restored 
the control of Nippur to the House of Ur-Me-me. 

Notes to the Seal (Fig. 3) 

The seal drawing is a composite of impressions found on CBS 9540, CBS 
1 1788, andNi 1 199. Ni 1 199 was accessible only by its photograph, published 
inNRVN 1 115, no. 50. 34 While Ni 11 99 seems to preserve a clear impression 
and to have been photographed well, some quality seems to have been lost 
in printing, making many details inaccessible to me. Two figures, namely the 
worshipper and the intermediary goddess on the right side of the legend, are 
preserved on Ni 1199. CBS 9540 bears the entire legend, the brimmed cap 
of the seated king, and the lower body of the intermediary goddess, but they 
are somewhat effaced. CBS 1 1788 preserves sharp traces of the impression, 

29 Hallo, "Ur-Me-me" 94; Zettler, "A Second Look" 4. 

30 See A. Hattori, "Texts and Impressions: A Holistic Approach to Ur III Cuneiform Tablets 
from the University of Pennsylvania Expeditions to Nippur" (Ph.D. diss., University of Penn- 
sylvania, 2002) 220. 

31 Fish, Rylands Library 400. 

32 See note 1 1 above. 

33 See CAD Z s.v. zazakku. 

34 The text on the tablet is copied as no. 249 in NRVN 1 86. 


The Return of the Governor 

but only part of it is preserved. None of the impressions preserves what 
is between the seated king and the worshipper. Therefore, the figures are 
presented on either side of the legend in figure 3. Because of these limitations, 
the composite drawing should be used with some caution. 

CBS 1 1788 shows a clearly and meticulously carved cartouche and signs. 
However, these traits are not clear in the other two impressions. The outlines 
of the two columns were apparently cut first, and each line divider was 
added as its signs were filled in. The traces of carving on CBS 9540 and 
Ni 1 199 suggest the possibility of carving mistakes, recutting, or damage to 
the seal itself (e.g., extra lines in lines 2 and 10). But what is preserved on 
CBS 1 1788 shows a skilled hand, so it is not entirely clear if these are really 
carving mistakes. The traces, however, are included in the drawing because 
they look very much as if they originated from the cylinder seal, rather than 
from damage to the sealed clay surface. 

Ur- d Nanibgal also had a votive seal 35 (AO 22312) made of white agate, 
dedicated to the god Nuska for the life of Sulgi. It has no caps but is similar 
in size (h: 3.4 cm, d: 2.2 cm) to our Ur- d Nanibgal seal. Like most ancient 
Near Eastern seals, this seal has not been attested on a clay tablet. While the 
design of the seal, which depicts the king followed by a goddess and pouring 
water into the date-palm altar in front of a standing god, is different from our 
seal, the style of carving of the legend shows a distinct similarity, especially 
in the shape of the engar sign in Lugal-engar-duio (h 4). 

35 This seal was first published in Coll. de Clercq Coll. 1 86, but its photograph is more 
accessible in H. Frankfort, Cylinder Seals (London, 1939) pi. 25j and B. Andre-Leicknam 
and C. Ziegler, Naissance de I'ecriture: cuneiformes et hieroglyphes (Paris: La Reunion des 
musees nationaux, 1982) 87 no. 46. For full bibliography of this seal, see RIME 3/2 210 
(E3/2. 1.2.2023). 


Atsuko Hattori 

5 cm 

Fig. 1. CBS 11788 (photo) 


The Return of the Governor 

Fig. 2. CBS 11788 (copy) 


Atsuko Hattori 

v-'injiw//a\i/x ri 

Fig. 3. Drawing of Ur- d Nanibgal seal 



Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 

The investigation of this topic began several years ago during the course of 
a graduate seminar in Akkadian. We were reading the Babylonian "Creation 
Epic," the Enuma Elis. The epic consists of seven individual tablets that make 
up the whole composition, which was probably composed toward the end of 
the second millennium BC. The class was discussing a main event of tablet 
one, namely the birth of the god Marduk, destined as the epic unfolds, to 
become the head of the pantheon. 

The number of lines on a given tablet is sometimes provided at the end 
of literary texts, and some texts give us the total number of lines in the 
entire composition that contains several tablets. When a tablet is incomplete, 
the information about the number of lines is especially advantageous to the 
reconstruction of the text, to the placement of disconnected fragments, and 
so forth. Tablet I of Enuma Elis is fully preserved and contains 162 lines. 
One of our graduate students, Dr. Allen Estes, noticed that the actual birth of 
Marduk occurred exactly in the middle of the tablet, in lines 80 and 81. This 
two-line birth announcement emphasizes the event: "Marduk was created in 
the midst of the Apsu; in the midst of the pure Apsu was Marduk created." 
The second line, typical of repeated lines of poetry, is a slight variant of its 
mate. This observation led me to study carefully the placement of significant 
events in the storytelling in other tablets of Enuma Elis as well as in other 
compositions such as the OB Atrahasis Epic, and in the Gilgames Epic. I 
might also mention that, in the seven-tablet composition of Enuma Elis, it 
is in the very center tablet, tablet IV, that a crucial and pivotal event of the 
whole story takes place — namely, the slaying of Ti'amat. 2 

Over the past few years, having studied by now many individual Akkadian 
tablets, I can report that there seems little doubt that our ancient scribes 
and "tablet designers," if you will, of these ancient compositions placed 
significant events at symmetrically spaced points in the texts, and actually 
in each tablet. These points, or junctures, are notably at what I may call 
"half-time," "quarter time," and "three-quarter-time." 

1 This paper has been presented on several occasions with this title or as "Weaving Textual 
Patterns: Symmetry in Akkadian Poetic Texts": University of California, Santa Barbara, March 
1999; American Oriental Society, Portland, March 2000; and University of Arizona, Tucson, 
November 2002. 

2 On the "dead center" of the Atrahasis Epic, see William Moran, "Some Considerations of 
Form and Interpretation in Atra-hasls," in Studies Reiner 245. 


Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 

Associated with these important lines are such devices as repetition that 
marks these points. The repetition may be what I will call a "doublet," 
or two lines almost the same, or a "triplet" or a "quadruplet" for three 
and four line repeated segments, most often with some variation after the 
initial repeated words. Other forms of repetition may also take place. For 
example, a longer speech or descriptive passage may be repeated verbatim 
at several points in the story line, and these segments are likewise spaced 
quite symmetrically with respect to the beginning, middle, and end of a 
tablet. I might add that, so far, I have not encountered a "recitative" line 
such as "he opened his mouth to speak and said to PN" at these symmetrical 
junctures (with the possible exception of Istar's speech in the center of 
Gilgames Tablet VI; see below). Of course, caution is required inasmuch 
as many of our text reconstructions are part guesswork when a tablet is not 
complete, and when it has been re-composed by modern scholars from many 
fragments, coming from several versions; this is even true for "canonical" 
texts. Nevertheless, the "system," if I may call this a "system," seems to work 
in general, even when we are uncertain as to the exact number of lines on a 

It is also of interest that, thus far in my observations (which include all 
of Gilgames, Atrahasls, Enuma Elis, and Istar's Descent), no single tablet's 
"pattern" is copied in another. All the patterns are different. Moreover, I have 
been led to think of the structural designs as textiles, where each tablet may, 
like textiles, commonly exhibit repetition and have a notable symmetry. Both 
tablets and textiles may, of course, also show asymmetry; for example, the first 
two-thirds of the tablet is symmetrical, but the remainder is not. Moreover, 
the texts use keywords repeatedly and symmetrically. Just as textiles may 
have repeated designs (e.g., rosettes), these keywords function to highlight 
the condition of a character (e.g., the word nissatu, "grief," in Gilgames X, 
illustrated by asterisks in Illustration B below) or may be a reflection of 
events or conditions in another tablet in the same series. 3 

The fact that many poetic texts were performed musically is known. They 
were probably sung to instrumental accompaniment. The further fact that 
each line of text most often has four musical "beats" to the line has led me to 
think of the lines as musical "measures." The number of count-lines stated 
at the end of a tablet could amount, then, to a summation of the number of 
musical measures in the composition. The importance of counting in musical 
performance should be noted: if a piece is performed by one or more singers 

3 Victor Avigdor Hurowitz, "Advice to a Prince: A Message from Ea," SAAB 12 (1998) 44-6, 
discusses the correlation between the number of lines on a tablet and the divine number of 
the god closely associated with the text. For example, a hymn to Samas has 200 lines, that 
is, a multiple of his number twenty. I thank Erie Leichty for referring me to these recent 


Visualizing Text: Schematic Patterns in Akkadian Poetry 

plus musical accompaniment, then all the performers must count in order to 
know when they are to "come in," and when they are to "rest." 

I have already mentioned this latter point about musical count lines in 
an article called "Fugal Features of Atrahasis: The Birth Theme," 4 in which 
I attempted to track the common and repeated "themes" or "thematic lan- 
guage" of the text. I speculated as to whether or not specific musical passages 
accompanied the thematic repetitions, thus my use of the term "fugal." I also 
wondered whether the performance of these poetic epics might have been 
more colorful or "operatic" than ever we thought, for most of us have prob- 
ably assumed some kind of monotonic intonation of the words accompanied 
by a dronish accompaniment by a single instrument like a harp or a drum. 

The ramifications of these observations should prove to be of benefit: we 
could learn what the original ancient composers considered to be significant 
points in the story line; and we may be able to make more educated guesses 
about what should lie in fragmentary or broken passages at these junctures. 
A case in point is the first tablet of the Atrahasis Epic. That epic, in 
its OB version, has three tablets. According to my analysis of the entire 
composition, a major event occurs in each tablet. In tablet I it is the creation 
of humankind by the gods, the invention, if you will, by the god Enki/Ea, of 
the self-propagation of the human race, and the birth of the first baby from a 
human mother. In tablet II, Abubu, the semi-personified Flood-as-monster, 
is created. In tablet III, the Ark is created to save what remains of earth's 
creatures after the Flood. 

In tablet I, the middle part is quite fragmentary. But very near what is the 
three-quarter point, or at line 307 on a tablet with approximately 416 lines, 
there are traces of a word that, as I have suggested we could restore as the 
word for "baby": [s]i-ir-«ri». 5 Moreover, in that same tablet, a very significant 
thing takes place at half-time (at line 208 or half of 416): the decision to slay 
one of the gods in order to make the magic clay-with-divine-body and blood 
matrix from which the primordial humans were first fashioned presumably 
at adult stature, by the teams of female birthing assistants. 

The comparison with textile design is interesting from several other 
perspectives: the conceptual connection with prepared but still uninscribed 
tablets which, when incised only with the lineation lines before the words are 
written in with the stylus, are not unlike a loom set out with the warp but not 
the weft. Further, there is in many traditions, including Sumerian, the notion 
that stories are "woven" by their creators. In a Sulgi hymn (Sulgi X), for 
example, Inanna "wove a song" (Sumerian verb ra; or did she "strike up" the 

4 In Mesopotamian Poetic Language: Sumerian and Akkadian (ed. M. E. Vogelzang and 
H.L.J. Vanstiphout; CM 6 [^Proceedings of the Groningen Group for the Study of Mesopota- 
mian Literature 2]; Groningen: Styx, 1996) 127-39. 

5 Kilmer, "Fugal Features of Atrahasis: The Birth Theme" 136 note 22. 


Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 

song?) about the king, 6 and in the Kes temple hymn the goddess Nisaba "with 
its [the hymn's] words she wove it like a net, 7 written on tablets it was held in 
her hand." 8 The goddess Nisaba, the grain goddess, is the patron of scribes 
because of the reed stylus, while the goddess Uttu is patron of weavers. Was 
the stylus connected metaphorically with the loom shuttle? SIG7.ALAN = 
Nabnitu XXIII (+ Q) 5-6 (MSL 16 21 1) should be noted here: 

[dun?]-d[u]n ? = su-tu-u sa ma-ha-si "warp [or: "to string"?], of weaving" 
[sa?]-du = «MIN sa pif-nim'» "DITTO, of the musical string" 

Unfortunately line 8 is broken, for it has: 

[ ] -«x» = MIN sd tup-pi "DITTO, of the tablet" 

Finally, the term for a scribe in some late Akkadian texts is kasir kammi, 
"knotter of a tablet/writing board" (see CAD K s.v. kammu C); one can easily 
envision a rug-knotter at a vertical loom. 

Comparanda that deserve to be mentioned here are, for example, the 
classical Greek imagery of "weaving" songs on musical strings, 9 where 
the set of strings on the wooden frame of a lyre was thought of as a 
loom; thus the unusual Greek word krekolyra meaning "to strike the lyre 
with a loom shuttle," just as a shuttle passes across the warp strings of 
a loom. Another Greek term conveys the whole idea, namely the verb 
chordaiosidiakrekein (used by Sappho) meaning "to weave a song on the 
strings of an instrument." 10 One can also compare the general use of textile 
imagery in English expressions such as "to spin a yarn" which means 
"to tell a story," or "to pick up the thread" (of a story), or "as the tale 
unfolds," and the like. Further, as has recently been discussed in the doctoral 
dissertation of John Franklin of University College, London, 11 an over- 
riding philosophical or even metaphysical concept is that of a man-made 

6 Jacob Klein, Three Sulgi Hymns. Sumerian Royal Hymns Glorifying King Sulgi of Ur (Bar 
Ilan Studies in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures; Ramat-Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 
1981) 136-7 11. 12-3; 147 note to 11. 12-3. 

7 Sum. sa-giny. For sa = pitnu, "a set of strings," see Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, "The Strings of 
Musical Instruments: their Names, Number, and Significance," in Studies Landsberger 262^4; 
AHw 869-70; Nigga 291 (MSL 13 104) and Nigga Biling. 243 (MSL 13 121). 

8 Gene Gragg, The Kes Temple Hymn, in Ake W. Sjoberg and E. Bergmann, The Collection of 
the Sumerian Temple Hymns (TCS 3; Locust Valley, N.Y.: J.J. Augustin, 1969) 167 and 178, 
lines 1 1-2. 

9 Jane Snyder, "The Web of Song: Weaving Imagery in Homer and the Lyric Poets," CJ 76 
(1981) 193-6; Martha Maas and Jane Snyder, The Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece 
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989) 34. 

10 Maas and Snyder, The Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece 224 note 54. 

11 John Franklin, "Terpander: The Invention of Music in the Orientalizing Period" (Ph.D. diss., 
University College, London, 2002). 


Visualizing Text: Schematic Patterns in Akkadian Poetry 

or concocted "construction," or what Franklin calls a "balanced joining," 
whether it be of wood or of musical systems, as in a "set" of strings. It is 
this concept, he argues, that underlies the classical concept of "harmonia," 
not only for music but for philosophical thought, as harmony figures in the 
Platonic controlled social order. 

The conceptual "warp and weft" of the geometrical and perhaps "cos- 
mological" designs on early tablets from Fara, Abu Salabikh, and Ebla, as 
discussed a few years ago by Pietro Mander, 12 may also be germane to this 
discussion. Mander comments on the conceptual similarity between plowing 
furrows in a field in parallel lines and the lines on a tablet; he also notes the 
use of the Sumerian sign SAR as an ideogram for both horticultural activity 
and the verb "to write." 

One should also, I am sure, consider chiasm in general (as in the Hebrew 
Bible), or the amazing symmetrical constructions of Zoroastrian poetry as 
shown recently by my Berkeley colleague Martin Schwartz. 13 It would be 
useful to explore the biblical Hebrew text for similar features. For example, in 
the Song of Songs, between the end of Songs 4:14 and the beginning of 4: 1 5, 
which happens to be right in the middle of the Song, the former ends with the 
word neradim, "spikenards," and the latter begins with the same word but in 
the singular nerd, "spikenard." 14 The center is the most important point in 
both biblical chiastic structures and in Zoroastrian ring compositions. 

I have found it difficult to illustrate the textual patterns that I am discussing 
here. Plotting them on graph paper was not successful, but I have had better 
results with computer-generated line charts that represent the actual number 
of lines on a tablet; they attempt to display the features of repetition, key 
words, and main events in the storytelling. Because of the high number of 
lines, it is awkward to handle long pieces of paper; thus, for the purposes 
of this article I have reduced them in size in order to demonstrate the 
approximate symmetrical placement of the features under discussion. I have 
also tried using different colors to distinguish different scribal devices and 
features, and that has been moderately successful. It is very much as if the 
lines or the story on the tablet were a folded piece of cloth. When "unfolded" 
or "opened up," the patterns are visually quite apparent. See illustrations A, 
B, and C below 15 

12 Pietro Mander, "Designs on the Fara, Abu-Salabikh and Ebla Tablets" AION 55 (1995) 

13 M. Schwartz, "The Ties that Bind: on the Form and Content of Zarathushtra's Mysticism," 
in New Approaches to the Interpretation of the Gathas (ed. F. Vajifdar; Proceedings of the 
1 st International Gatha Colloquium, World Zoroastrian Organization, London; London: World 
Zoroastrian Organization, 1999) 127-97. 

14 I thank Prof. Scott Noegel for this reference and for other useful conversations with him. 

15 I thank our Near Eastern Studies Graduate Assistant, Judy Shattuck, for creating the original 
line charts for me, and Shawn Noel Simmons of the Academy Village staff in Tucson for 
executing Figs. A, B, and C below. 


Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 

Three Examples: Istar's Descent; Gilgames X, and Gilgames XI 

These illustrations are provisional and need improvement and refinement, 
but they should demonstrate my observations. I have not found it easy to 
represent the different kinds of repetitions visually. 

Illustration A, Istar's Descent (138 lines) 


lines 1-3 

went down, went down, went down. 

1/8 time 

lines 16-8 

open gate. 

1/4 time 

lines 32-6 

weep, open gate. 

lines 49-55 

a seven-line block: Istar's passage 
through the seven gates. 

1/2 time 

lines 67-72 

a seven-line block: sixty diseases; Istar's 

line 94 

reference to the seven gates. 

3/4 time 

lines 104-7 

Ereskigal's quadruple curse. 

7/8 time 

Istar revives: lines 123-9 

seven-line block: passage through seven 


lines 136-8 

come up, come up, come up. 

Illustration B, Gilgamesh Tablet X (327 lines) 

Asterisk = keyword nissatu, "grief." 

X X = key theme "ax and sword" (= a reflection of Enkidu). 

Small rectangles = triplet/quadruplet lines, themes: killing, death, nothingness. 

Large rectangles = verbatim repeated passage: Gilgamesh 's woeful condition. 

= main event 

1/4 time line 81 Gilgamesh vows to visit Utnapistim. 

lines 95-96 Gilgamesh takes up Ax and Sword to kill the Stone 
1/2 time line 163 Gilgamesh takes up Ax and Sword to cut punting poles. 

3/4 time Gilgamesh tells Utnapishtim what his plan was. 

Illustration C, Gilgames Tablet XI (320 lines) 

The Whole Tablet XI (320 lines). 

1/4 time lines 80-3 quadruplet: "I loaded her." 

1/2 time lines 160-1 The end of the Flood. The sacrifice to the gods: doublet: 

gods smelled the incense. 
3/4 time 240-1 doublet: death lurks. 

7/8 time the plant episode: "let me reveal to you" (see line 9: start 

of flood narrative). 
End: "Inspect the walls of Uruk" = Beginning of Tablet I, lines 



Visualizing Text: Schematic Patterns in Akkadian Poetry 

Tablet XI may be described as a story within a story and envisioned as a 
textile upon a textile, each having its own remarkable symmetry. 

The Flood Narrative, 195 lines = lines 9-204. Begins with "let me reveal to you." 

1/4 time line 48 veiled announcement of the Flood to the 

1/2 time line 97 the Flood storm begins. 

3/4 time line 146 the birds are released. 

End of Flood narrative line 204 

Since the first writing of this paper, I have found another good example of 
how Mesopotamian story telling placed significant events at the half-way 
point in the lineation: Gilgames Tablet III established a formal relationship 
between Gilgames and Enkidu before they set out to slay Huwawa. Tablet 
three had an estimated 250 lines. It is in line 125, at the half point, that 
the formal induction and investiture of Enkidu takes place. 16 Without this 
important ceremony, Gilgames and Enkidu would not have been permitted 
to pursue their adventures which needed sanction by the city elders and 
which received the prayers and blessings of Gilgames's mother, the goddess 
Ninsun. 17 

I should also mention that, of the twelve tablets of the Gilgames Epic, 
it is only the 12th tablet that does not exhibit the kind of symmetry or 
other devices discussed in this paper. As a result, I am finally convinced 
that the 12th tablet was definitely an "add on" to the original eleven tablet 
composition. Moreover, the central tablet of the eleven-tablet composition is 
the sixth. In it, the significant speech of Ishtar is at the center (lines 90 ff. in 
the 1 82-line tablet), where she asks Anu for the Bull of Heaven, the Bull of 
Heaven being the central theme of Tablet VI. Moreover, at quarter-time, line 
45, Gilgames begins his history of Istar's ill-fated lovers. At three-quarter 
time, line 136, Enkidu advises Gilgames on how to kill the Bull of Heaven. 18 

Let me stress that I am still exploring this subject. I believe that it 
has a bearing on discussions of oral composition as opposed to written 
composition. I am of the opinion now that we may use these "tablet designs" 
as an argument for scribal planning and execution. In so concluding, perhaps 

16 See Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1999) 27 with 
Text Y added. Now A. R. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic. Introduction, Critical 
Edition and Cuneiform Texts (2 vols.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) 580-1. 

17 Anne D. Kilmer, "The Investiture of Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet III," in 
CRRAI 47 (2002) 283-8. 

18 Vanstiphout discusses the number of lines in standard Sumerian literary compositions and 
the "marked tendency toward multiples of 60/70," see Hermann Vanstiphout, "Memory and 
Literacy in Ancient Western Asia," CANE 4 2193. There he also notes that the most popular 
lengths were 120 to 140 and ca. 280 lines, adding that "some compositions show clear structural 
pivots regularly at around 60 [half of 120] and 70 [half of 140]." 


Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 

prematurely, I am in the general good company of Karl Hecker who argued 
that the complex composition of much epic poetry, even lines that seem 
formulaic, must originate with the writing scribes in the tablet house, and 
need not be derived from oral tradition. 19 Putting it differently, it may be 
that we have, in general, "underestimated the effect of scribal learning," 20 
not to mention the symmetrical layout on clay tablets as affecting literary 

I have invented my own terms like doublet and quadruplet for lack 
of any better terms, though I realize that there may be well known and 
more appropriate terms used by the literati for such phenomena as "ring 
composition." I am also fully aware that my few comparisons must only 
scratch the surface of literatures that are, if not entirely unknown to me, 
certainly areas in the larger arena of literary structure and design in which I 
feel entirely unschooled. 

I conclude with drawings (Figs. 1 and 2 by this writer) intended to 
entertain the honoree of this volume, my valued friend and colleague, Erie 
Leichty. 21 

19 Karl Hecker, Untersuchungen zur akkadischen Epik (AOAT/S 8; Kevelaer: Butzon & 
Bercker, 1974) 66-7. 

20 Johannes de Moor and Wilfred Watson, Verse in Ancient Near Eastern Prose (AOAT 43; 
Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1993) x note 8. 

21 Drawings inspired by the illustration of Rien Poortvliet in the (approximate) center of the 
212-page book [pages not numbered] by Wil Huygen, Gnomes (New York: Harry Abrams, 
Inc., 1977). 


Visualizing Text: Schematic Patterns in Akkadian Poetry 

111. A 


Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 



A. /i. 




111. B. 


Visualizing Text: Schematic Patterns in Akkadian Poetry 

111. C. 


Anne Draffkorn Kilmer 

Fig. 1. 


Visualizing Text: Schematic Patterns in Akkadian Poetry 

Fig. 2. 



Jacob Klein 

The unique economic text published below 1 seems to be a late Old Akkadian 
or early Ur III Akkadian field-sale document. 2 From the fact that both the 
measures of the property under sale and its price are written in late standard 
numerical notation, as well as from the Ur III personal names Ur-Sulpae 
(1. 6) and Turam-ill (1. 10), we may conclude that we have here an Ur III 
text written in early Ur III paleography. 3 On the other hand, the iskinu- 
clause (11. 3-5), which hitherto has been attested only in Pre-Sargonic and 
Sargonic transactions, 4 may point to an earlier period. Judging from the 
tablet's lenticular form, 5 its seemingly irregular content and formula, and 
its presumed incompleteness, we may have here a scribal exercise tablet. 
One line is perhaps missing from the top of the obverse (and the bottom 
of the reverse), which has been damaged and filled by the dealer with 
an unknown substance. On account of this and the damaged condition 
of the first extant line, it is difficult to determine the exact nature of the 

1 The tablet belongs to the private collection of Mr. Shlomo Moussaieff of London. I am 
grateful to Mr. Moussaieff for his kind permission to study the tablet and publish it herein. 
During the final stages of this study in the Babylonian Section of the University Museum, 

1 had the opportunity to discuss various relevant problems with Dietz Edzard, David Owen, 
Barry Eichler, Tonia Sharlach, and Steven Garfinkle. These discussions proved most helpful 
in the preparation of a final draft, which was sent to Piotr Steinkeller for further comments. 
Steinkeller responded with a letter in which he made a number of substantial corrections and 
suggestions. I am grateful to all these colleagues for their help. 

For the bibliographical abbreviations used in this article, see CAD S/3 v ff.; PSD A/3 ixff; 
M. Sigrist and T. Gomi, The Comprehensive Catalogue of Published Ur III Tablets (Bethesda, 
Md. : CDL Press, 1 99 1 ) 7 ff. Note further: Garfinkle, "Private Enterprise" = Steven J. Garfinkle, 
"Private Enterprise in Babylonia at the End of the Third Millennium BC" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia 
University, 2000) and Steinkeller, Sale Documents = Piotr Steinkeller, Sale Documents of the 
Ur-III-Period (FAOS 17; Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1989). 

It is a pleasure for me to dedicate this modest study to the distinguished jubilarian, whose 
generous hospitality and friendship I had the privilege to enjoy for many years during my 
research visits at the Tablet Room of the University Museum. 

2 For a copy and photographs see Figs. 1-6 below. 

3 In Sargonic Akkadian sale documents the numerals, as a rule, are written in archaic signs 
(see the list in Gelb, Kudurrus 191). 

4 See comment to 1. 3 below. 

5 The text is written on a very heavy, unbaked, lenticular tablet with a diameter of ca. 65 mm. 
The obverse is inscribed with 5 lines, the reverse, very sharply convex — probably also with 5 
lines. Obverse left has a deep incision. The tablet is encrusted and damaged, especially on the 


Jacob Klein 
The content and structure of the document seem to be as follows: 

A. The commodity for sale and its price (11. 1-2). 

B. Additional payment defined as iskinu and a gift of wool (11. 3-5). 

C. The buyer who weighed out the silver for the purchase price and the 
additional payment(s) (11. 6-8). 

D. The two sellers of the property (9-10). 6 

The term iskinu and the overall structure of the document point to the sale of 
real estate (field or house). 7 If our restoration of ki-ga[l] at the end of line 1 
is correct, then the tablet treats the sale of a plot of uncultivated land. 8 

1 [x s]ar 7 13 'A "gin" 1 ki-ga[l] ... sar 13 'A (surface) shekel of 

uncultivated land, 

2 [s]am-su-nu 13 'A gin / la 4 'A se their price (being) 13 'A shekel minus 
kug-babbar 4'A grain of silver; 

3 a-di is-ki-ni together with the additional payment 

4 in 1 1 gin-ta of 1 1 shekels (of silver) per each 


5 2 ma-na siki i-qi-is he (the buyer) granted 2 minas of 

wool (as a gift). 
Ur-Sulpae, the scribe, 
weighed (them) out. 

-Irm son of Su-Ninmug, 

ZA-x-[x-x]-e, wife of Tumm-ill 


Ur- d Sul-pa-e / dub-sar 


r dumu n Ur-TAG 




r x-x-7r n -ra r dumu n Su- d Nin-mug 


ZA-x-[x-x]-x-e r dam ? Tu-ra-am-i/-lP 


i\m' ! - -r\u' ! 

6 The above interpretation of clauses B, C, and D has been suggested by P. Steinkeller. For 
possible alternative interpretations of these clauses, see commentary below. 

7 For a description of the structure of Sargonic sale formulae, see Gelb, Kudurrus 206 ff. For a 
typical Sargonic Akkadian house sale document, which closely resembles the present one, see 
MMA 86.11.204, Edmond Sollberger, "Selected Texts from American Collections," JCS 10 
(1956) 13-7, 26. That text is classified by Gelb, Kudurrus as "Operative Section Type G," and 
exhibits the following structure: A. The Purchase Clause, including the size of the house (stated 
in terms of sar and gin [I 1]), its price (stated in terms of ma-na and gin [I 2-3]), the names of 
the sellers and the buyer, and the verb of purchase (Thuz [I 4-II 2]); B. The Additional Payment 
Clause, introduced by the iskinu phrase (ana nig-ki-gar e [II 3^1]), with the additional payment 
consisting of quantities of barley, oil, wool, and garments, which the buyer gave to a member 
of the seller's household (ana NI.ZAG Q. iddin [II 5-III 5); C. List of 18 Witnesses, who had a 
meal in the house of the buyer (ina e Q. ninda ku [III 6-VI 15]). In this type of document the 
payment clause (including the verb i-la) is absent, but it can be found in documents of Type 
B (Gelb, Kudurrus 207). However, the latter clause is standard also in Ur III sale documents 
(Steinkeller, Sale Documents 19 passim). 

8 In Steinkeller's opinion, the object of the sale is a house or orchard lot. See further discussion 
in the commentary below. 


An "Old Akkadian " Sale Document of Unknown Provenance 


Line 1: Traces at the end of this damaged line point to: ki siki ! or ki-ga[l]. 
Judging from the overall structure of the transaction, and the fact that gin, 
"shekel" is frequently used in real estate sale documents as a surface measure, 
we assume that the damaged numerical figure in this line refers to a surface 
measure. 9 We would expect this surface measure to be followed by a term 
referring to a house or a field. Since none of the two known meanings of 
ki-siki (literally: "place of wool?") seems to fit the present context, 10 1 prefer 
to restore ki-ga[l], which is a fairly well-attested term for uncultivated land. 11 

Line 2: [s]am([NIN]DAxSE) = simsunul simusunu "their price/value" 
(cf. MAD 3 259, s.v. simu; CAD S/3 20 f.). 12 For sam as the major term 
for price in pre-Ur III documents, see Steinkeller, Sale Documents 153-62; 
Gelb, Kudurrus 217ff (for the present sam-su-nu, see there 218, s.v, 5). 

Lines 3-5: For is-ki-ni at the end of line 3, cf. CAD I/J s.v. iskinu (pi. tantum), 
defined as "money paid in addition to the purchase price or fields and houses" 
(cf. also AHw 396). The term iskinu and its ED Sumerian equivalent nig- 
ki-gar, 13 are both attested only in Akkadian documents. For the latest and 
most comprehensive discussion of this term, see now Gelb, Kudurrus 220 ff. 
The syllabically written Akkadian term is attested only in two Sargonic 
fieldsale documents (nos. 42 and 43) and in a Sargonic tablet dealing with 

9 For gin as a surface measure, see A. Deimel, "Die Vermessung der Felder bei den Sumerern 
urn 3000 v. Chr." OSP 4 (1922) 36 (1 gin = 1/60 sar = 0.58806 sq. m.); cf. also M. A. Powell, 
"Sumerian Area Measures and the Alleged Decimal Substratum," ZA 62 (1972) 174, 188 with 
n. 49; and most recently M. A. Powell, "Masse und Gewichte," RIA 7 479. The preceding traces 
constitute probably the end of the figure which gave the quantity of the sar. Hence Steinkeller's 
suggestion to read the first visible damaged sign as SAR is adopted here. 

10 The two meanings of ki-sig known to me are: (a) a designation of weavers, later replaced by 
the term geme-us-bar (cf. S. Yamamoto, "The lu-KUR^-dabs-ba People in the e-mi — e- d Ba-U 
in Pre-Sargonic Lagash," ASJ 3 [1981] 100, 107; K. Maekawa, "Female Weavers and Their 
Children in Lagash— Pre-Sargonic and Ur III," ASJ 2 [1980] 81-125); (b) an ED and Ur III 
month name (cf. M. Cohen, Calendars 292 [index] and see especially p. 52 f; Sallaberger, 
Kalender 1 196 n. 929; R. Englund, Fischerei 166 iii 4). 

A possible alternative reading r ma" n -na ? (=KI) sig (for ki-sig) is excluded, not only on the 
basis of the prices involved, but also on grammatical grounds. If the object of the sale were to 
be wool, siki would have been read in Akk. sipatu (fem. plur.), and we would expect in 1. 2 the 
possessive suffix for 3rd pi. feminine -sin or -sina (instead of the 3rd pi. masculine -sunu). 

11 For ki-gal(-la), Akk. kikallu (CAD K s.v.) and kankallu (CAD K 152), attested already in 
Pre-Sargonic sale documents, see Steinkeller, Sale Documents 125 f; see also F. Carroue, "Le 
Cours-d'Eau-Allant-a-NINAki," ASJ 8 (1986) 34; K. Maekawa, "The Agricultural Texts of 
Ur III Lagash of the British Museum (VIII)," ASJ 14 (1992) 201 ff. 

12 Steinkeller reminds me that simu is usually plurale tantum in the Sargonic and Ur III 
Akkadian (cf. CAD S/3 s.v. la; AHw 1240 s.v. 1). 

13 Also probably related to nig-dur-gar and is-gana which is probably an early Akkadian 
loanword in Sumerian. 


Jacob Klein 

the sale of a house (no. 227). The Sumerian equivalent is attested in two Pre- 
Sargonic (nos. 16 and 36), and three Sargonic (nos. 40, 41, and 49) fieldsale 
documents, and in a Sargonic tablet dealing with the sale of a house (no. 237). 
Thus both terms have hitherto been attested only in pre-Ur III documents. 
Both terms refer to the additional payment received by the seller(s) for the 
commodity being sold. In one instance the nig-ki-gar is given together with 
a gift (nig-ba). 14 This additional payment may consist of silver, barley, oil, 
wool, copper and bronze objects, mules, and slaves, and usually constitutes 
10 percent of the price. It should be noted that when wool is included in this 
payment, it frequently weighs 2 minas. When the Akkadian term is written 
syllabically, it usually appears in the form: is-ki-nu-su ("its i."). 15 However, in 
one instance 16 the wording is: Umml-Estar u Dawir akilt[a\ iskin[e] "U. and 
D. are the recipients of the iskinu" (no. 227); and in a Sargonic administrative 
text (MAD 5 3 : 1-3), among the expenditures we find an amount of barley paid 
to the owners of a field a-na is-ki-ni ("as additional payment"). Accordingly, 
the first two preceding signs are to be read: a-di, 11 and the compound a-di 
is-ki-ni (= adi iskini) should mean "together with an additional payment." 18 
For in 1 1 gin-ta in line 4, obviously a distributive expression, see Gelb, 
MAD 30. For its meaning, which in the present context is problematic, see 
below. 19 

14 See comment to line 5 below. 

15 Gelb, Kudurrus no. 42 ii 6, no. 43 i 5 passim. 

16 Kelsey Museum No. 89509 ii 4-7 (cf. P. Steinkeller, "Two Sargonic Sale Documents 
concerning Women," ONS 51 [1982] 357). 

17 For OAkk a-di, see CAD A/1 s.v. adi B a. For this usage of adi, Steinkeller refers me 
to A. Pohl, Neubabylonische Rechtsurkunden aus den Berliner Staadichen Museen (AnOr 9; 
Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1934) 7:16-17 (cf. SanNicolo, BR 8/7 14): naphar 1 mana 1/3 
siqil kaspi sibirti/ adi 1 siqil kaspi sa ki pi atar nadnu, "A total of 1 mina and 1/3 shekel of 
silver in pieces, together with seven shekels of silver which have been given as the additional 

18 Note that the A sign in the beginning of this line is aligned with the beginning of the IN, 
as well as with the A of the following two lines, but it is not aligned with the beginning of 
the SAM of the preceding line, which is now damaged. Therefore, I assume (with Edzard and 
Steinkeller) that nothing preceded the A sign. However, one cannot rule out the possibility that 
a short sign may have been lost in the beginning of the line, which is broken. In that case, 
one might consider the alternative reading: [x]-a-ti-is-ki-ni, taking this chain to be an OAkk. 
PN. Cf. Gelb, MAD 3 138 f: A-bi-is-ki-in, Nin-lil-is-ki-in (among names with the element 
kinum); cf. also MAD 2 142. This alleged PN could perhaps be restored as \Ah~\atisklni (= 
Loyal-to-the-Sister) or [M]atis-kini or [M]adis-kTni, "very honest" and might then be the name 
of the vendor or a member of his family, who was granted the additional payment and gift by 
the buyer of the property. However, the overall pattern of the text, as well as the extra III vowel 
at the end of the alleged PN, argue strongly against this possibility. 

19 None of the documents referred to by Gelb seems to be helpful in solving our problem. 
MDP 14 86+ (cf. H. Limet, "Les metaux l'epoque d'Agade," JESHO 15 [1972] 7f), contains 
an inventory of various artifacts made of metal, hide, wool, etc., indicating in each case the 
quantity of the particular artifact, the total amount of raw material that was used to manufacture 
it, and the amount of material that was used for producing each unit. In ITT II/2, 5798 the 
distributive expression kug.babbar-™ 25 ma-na in 3 ma-na-ta, which appears in a broken 


An "Old Akkadian " Sale Document of Unknown Provenance 

i-gi-is (line 5) = i-qi-is (= iqis); cf. CAD Q s.v. qdsu, "to deed, make 
a land grant." Note that in Old Akkadian and Ur III Akkadian the /qi/ in 
the verb qdsu and its derivatives is always spelled with KI (= qi); see also 
Gelb, MAD 3 222 f. s.v. Q^S. The only exception seems to be the Sargonic 
hapax PN Gl-sum (= QTsum); see Gelb, MAD 3 s.v. qisum (quoted by CAD 
Q s.v. qisu). Otherwise, the value qi for GI in OAkk. texts is well attested 
(cf. MAD 2 61). The term iqis in this context no doubt means: "granted gave 
as a gift," i.e., paid to the seller as an additional price, or given as a good-will 
gift to one of his relatives. 20 

The meaning of the laconic "in 1 1 gin-ta" (1. 4), in this context, is obscure. 
The present translation of this line was suggested to me by Steinkeller, who 
assumes that it indicates the actual amount of silver given as an additional 
payment to each of the two sellers. It follows from this that the 2 minas of 
wool mentioned in 1. 5 constitute a goodwill gift, which supplemented the 
substantial "additional payment." An alternative solution is to assume that the 
"additional payment" included only wool, and the "11 shekels" mentioned in 
1. 4 refer to a surface measure. According to this solution, instead of stating 
the actual amount of wool given as the additional payment for the property 
being sold, lines 4-5 would indicate the ratio between the size of the property, 
specified in line 1 , and the additional payment/grant made in wool, and 11. 
3-5 should then be translated as: "including the additional payment: for each 
(area of) 1 1 '(surface) shekels' he presented as a gift 2 mina of wool." If this 
alternative interpretation should prove to be correct, we will never know the 
actual amount of the additional payment, since the line indicating the size of 
the property is damaged. 21 

Line 6: For Ur- d Sul-pa-e, a very common Ur III PN, see Limet, L'anthropony- 
mie 561 (attested in Umma, Ur, Nippur, Puzris-Dagan, and Lagas); TENUS 
22 (index; including three dub-sar); Yildiz-Gomi, Die Umma Texte 3 332 
(index); Garfinkle, "Private Enterprise" 312 no. 44: 1 1 passim (see indices on 
pp. 345, 394, 449). No scribe of this name is attested before the Ur III period 
(cf. "Tables of the Scribes," in Giuseppe Visicato, The Power and the Writing 
[Bethesda, Md: CDL Press, 2000]). There are also Ur III merchants with this 
name from Lagas and from Umma (cf. H. Neumann, "Handel und Handler 

context, seems to refer to the price of the commodity under sale, not to the additional payment. 
The beginning of ITT II/2 5893, reading 600 + 600 + 5x60 se-gur A-ga-de kl kug-babbar-™ 50 
ma-na in 2 (PI) 30 (SILA3)-ta, seems to refer to the total price of a huge quantity of grain, and 
its price per shekel. 

20 For the term nig-ba in similar context, see Gelb, Kudurrus 224 f. As the authors correctly 
point out, it is unlikely that Akk. qdsu in the present context would translate Sum. ba, "to 

21 For the relationship between prices of fields and additional payments in sale documents 
from the ED and Sargonic periods, see the discussion in Gelb, Kudurrus 281-6. 


Jacob Klein 

in der Zeit der III. Dynastie von Ur," AoF 6 [1979] 25, 27). In indices of 
Ur III publications I found a number of scribes with this name, but none of 
them is a son of Ur-TAG. 

Line 7: For the Sargonic PN Ur-TAG, Steinkeller refers me to BIN 8 47 

Line 8: The subject of the verb i-la is, apparently, Ur-Sulpae, the scribe, who 
weighed out the price and the additional payment for the commodity under 
sale. 22 It is assumed here with Steinkeller that Ur-Sulpae is most probably 
the buyer of the property, and not just the officiating "weigher of silver," for 
otherwise he would not be listed in the operative section. 

Lines 9-10: In Steinkeller's opinion these lines most probably specify the 
names of the sellers. However, if we assume that the first line of the tablet 
is missing, the sellers' names could have been lost with it. Alternatively, 
given that the text is a scribal exercise, the document could be incomplete, 
not having mentioned the name of the sellers at all. 23 In that case, our lines 
would refer to the names of the witnesses to the transaction. 

The first component of the PN in 1. 9 is too damaged to yield a reasonably 
assured reading. Steinkeller proposes to read r W-bP-Ir ! ~ l -ra or r Is ? -bP- d Ir' n - 
ra. However, except for sporadic references to the historical Isbi-Erra of 
Isin (for example, see UET 3 1421:5), I could not find this name in Ur III 
economic documents. Alternatively, it could be read as r Id' ! -diQiiy-Ir 1 -ra or 
r P-di(=EI)''-Ir n -ra (suggested by Tonia Sharlach), which is a widely spread 
PN in the Ur III period (see, e.g., Yildiz-Gomi, Die Umma-Texte 3 2285:39; 
TENUS 12; Yildiz-Tohru, Die Umma-Texte 6 3738:17; Garfmkle, "Private 
Enterprise" 291 no. 18:8 passim). 

For the PN Su- d Nin-mug, see the Presargonic and Ur III PN Ur- d Nin- 
mug. 24 For the DN d Nin-mug, see now A. Cavigneaux and M. Krebernik, 
RIA 9 471 ff, s.v. Ninmuga. Many Sumerian and Akkadian names have the 
component Su-ISu- (cf. Limet, L'anthroponymie 530 ff; Gelb, MAD 3 25 1 f). 
It is difficult to determine which is the case before us. 

For the damaged and illegible female PN in the beginning of 1. 10, 
ZA-x-[x-x x]-x-e, see Tu-ra-a[m]-i-li dumu Za-ma-[ ] (seal impression in 

22 For the verb la in Pre-Ur III sale documents, see Gelb, Kudurrus 229. This term appears 
normally before the Additional Payment clause. 

23 Could in that case i-qi-is in 1. 5 be read as iqqls (N) "were granted"? 

24 For the Presargonic PN, see Westenholz, OSP 1 no. 1 17:6; TMH 5 108 + ii 3, where Westen- 
holz reads Ur- dNin-zadim; see also G. Selz, Untersuchungen zur Gotterwelt des altsumerischen 
Stadtstaates von Lagas (OPSNKF 13; Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Museum, 
1995) 268 n. 1308. For the Ur III PN, see Limet, L'anthroponymie 555; TCS 3 no. 25 2:1; 
Yildiz-Gomi, Die Umma Texte 3 231; Steinkeller, Sale Documents 284 no. 94*: 13. 


An "Old Akkadian " Sale Document of Unknown Provenance 

NBC 7758: Garfinkle, "Private Enterprise" 370 no.104). If her title is to be 
read nin 9 (sister), than there is a determinative for male PN (DIS), applied 
uniquely to the Akk. PN Turam-ilT (absent in the Sum. PNs). Most probably, 
however, we have here dam ("spouse"). A number of different persons by the 
name of Tu-ra-am-l-li (=Turam-ili) are attested in the Ur III economic texts. 
See Gelb, MAD 3 293 (Ur III PN; cf. OSP 23-24); Jean, RA 19 (1922) 
43 no. 1 1 1:4 (Tu-ra-dm-i-li lu-ka§4), 41 no. 42: rev. 3 (Tu-ra-i-li lu-s i5 tukul); 
Yildiz-Gomi, Die Umma Texte 3 92 Um. 1831:9 (giri Tur-ra-am-i-li). 

The possibility cannot be excluded that our text refers to the wife of the 
famous Ur III merchant, Turam-ilT, the son of Ba-za-a-a. For the latter, see 
Marc Van De Mieroop, "Turam-111: An Ur III Merchant," JCS 38 (1986) 1- 
80, and especially Garfinkle, "Merchants, the Case of Turam-ili," in "Private 
Enterprise" 119-71; the most recent treatment of this material appears in 
JCS 54 (2002): see "Editorial Preface to the Turam-ili Tablets" 25-7; Steven 
J. Garfinkle, "Turam-ili and the Community of Merchants in the Ur III 
Period" 29^18; and Rudolf H. Mayr, "The Seals of the Turam-ili Archive" 
49-65. The mention of the wife of this Ur III merchant of Akkadian origin 
would not be a coincidence in a school copy of an Ur III Akkadian sale 
document. 25 

Line 1 1 : The space between the traces of the two signs visible at the beginning 
and end of the line is covered by an artificial filling. The text breaks off here; 
one or two more lines may be missing. With regard to the damaged signs in 
the beginning and the end of this line, Steinkeller writes to me: "Although it 
would be tempting to restore the line i[m-hu-r]u (or -r]a), another PN could 
equally well be recorded here." 

25 In his letter of November 16, 2002, Steinkeller writes to me: "Although I cannot think of 
any parallels, I suppose that this is a school copy of an authentic sale document. As for the date 
of the original, your conclusion that it is 'Old Akkadian [= Classical Sargonic = Naram-Sin 
and later] or Ur III' is all that can be said about it with confidence. A possible clue is the PN 
Turam-ili, which is not documented before Ur III as far as I know. The same would be true of 
Isbi-Erra (if that is the correct reading)." 


Jacob Klein 

— CM 

= O 

= CD 


= r- 

= CD 

Fig. 1. "Old Akkadian" Sale Document obv. (photo) 


An "Old Akkadian " Sale Document of Unknown Provenance 

Fig. 2. "Old Akkadian" Sale Document obv. 


Jacob Klein 


= O 

- CD 

= CO 

- [^ 

Fig. 3. "Old Akkadian" Sale Document rev. top (photo) 


An "Old Akkadian " Sale Document of Unknown Provenance 

Fig. 4. "Old Akkadian" Sale Document rev. 


Jacob Klein 

- O 

= CO 

- CO 




Fig. 5. "Old Akkadian" Sale Document rev. bottom (photo) 


An "Old Akkadian " Sale Document of Unknown Provenance 

— O 



= r^ 


= LO 

Fig. 6. "Old Akkadian" Sale Document rev. right side (photo) 




In the first volume of the honorand's Tablets from Sippar, 1 BM 54692 (Fig. 
1) is succinctly described as "F" ("fragment") and "incantation," which is 
entirely correct. The present writer noticed that the first few lines agree essen- 
tially with the incantation on K 9041 (Fig. 1) cited in volume three of C. Be- 
zold's Catalogue, 2 and the text is of such interest as to merit publication here. 3 
K 9041 is a Late Assyrian fragment, whether or not from a library of 
Ashurbanipal, and it is the top left-hand corner of its side of a tablet, but 
whether of obverse or reverse is not completely sure. If the former, it is of 
course the first section of the whole tablet. It offers the beginnings of the lines 
of a short Sumerian incantation followed by the beginning of a ritual section 
(tu 6 an-ni-[. . .]). BM 54692 (82-5-22,1016) is the bottom left-hand corner of 
its tablet, with continuous text on both sides. It lacks the beginnings of the 
lines and offers first the end of a ritual section prescribing recitation of the 
following text: 

[en] ki-a-am ana muh-hi SID-nu 

You shall recite [the incantation] over it thus: 

The incantation follows, and then a very fragmentary ritual section occurs. 
The fragment may be Middle Babylonian, to judge from the sign-forms: note 
the vertical wedge in LU and LUGAL, the narrow LI (line 13), and the HAR 
(lines 7 and 9). But a late Babylonian copy of a Middle Babylonian original 
is also a possibility. In either case it is interesting, since Middle Babylonian 
copies of such texts are rare. 

It is not certain that the two pieces belong to the same exorcistic series 
or are using this incantation for the same purpose. Incantations often served 
in quite different contexts. So in view of the slight remains of the ritual 
contexts we shall deal here only with the incantation, first giving the two 
versions in interlinear style, next commenting on details of interpretation, this 
being followed by a translation, and concluded with more general comments. 

1 Tablets from Sippar 1 (vol. 6 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum; 
London: British Museum Publications, 1986). 

2 Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets in the Kouyunjik Collection of the British Museum 
(London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1893). 

3 The texts given here in the author's hand copies are published by kind permission of the 
Trustees of the British Museum. 


W.G. Lambert 

The incantation is in late Sumerian, and that creates problems for interpreta- 
tion on the grammatical level. 


1 BM [en d ]en-ki lugal gu-la d asal-lii-hi lugal gu-la 
K en d en-ki lugal gu-la [ d asal-lu-hi lugal gu-la] 

2 BM [dingir-n]e-ne-a an-ki-a dim-mes gu siih-e-a 
K dingir-bi-ne-ne-a an-ki-a [ . . . ] 

3 BM [ d en-bi]-lu-lu BI dingir-gal-gal-e-ne 

K d en-bi-lu-lu gii-<gal> dingir-gal-gal-e-ne 

4 BM [gis-hur] an-ki-ke4 an-ne-en-hur-hur-re 

5 BM [ud iti mu] mu-ni-su-du7-da-ta 
K ud iti mu mu-ni-[su-du7-da?-ta?] 

6 BM [:iti? 7? ud?] r V gis-hur-hur-ra-ke 4 
K :iti7ud7[...] 

7 BM [ . . . ] x x (x) du 6 -sikil-la-ta 
K tu 6 an-ki-a Z[F . . . ] 

8 BM [tu 6 -en]- r e n -nu-ru 
K (nil) 

1. Enki and Asalluhi are here fully equal, contrary to most Sumerian in- 
cantations, where at least nominally Enki is superior as the father. The title 
lugal gu-la is most unusual for a god. CAD S/2 103b quotes only LUGAL 
ra-bu-um (of Insusinak) in an inscription from Elam. 

2. There is no room for BI in the BM tablet. It appears that the endings on 
both tablets for dingir are only meant as plural markers. The present writer 
has no idea what gu suh-e-a means. 

3. The restoration gu-gal is justified from Enuma Elis VII 62, 64, where the 
title is both a title and a name of Enbilulu. The BI in BM is clearly an error 
for GU. 

6. K has a Glossenkeil before iti 7 ud 7, which raises the possibility that it is 
a variant form of the previous line. However, the trace of BM can be the end 
of "7," so its second half may well be the correct continuation of what is in K. 

7. The trace on K may be restored: z[i-an-na he-pa zi-ki-a he-pa], but that is 


Enbilulu and the Calendar 


1 Enki, great king, Asalluhi, great king, 

2 Gods of heaven and earth, creators of ... , 

3 Enbilulu, canal supervisor of the great gods, 

4 designed [the designs] of heaven and earth for them. 

5 After he had completed day, month, and year - 

6 having designed 7 months and 7 days - 

7 [...]... from the pure hill. 

8 [Tu'en]enuru. 

The concept of Ea and Marduk as joint rulers of the universe in the beginning 
is rare but can be paralleled. In Atra-hasis I Ea and the Mother Goddess j ointly 
create man. In Enuma Elis VI 1-38 that tradition is modified by Marduk 's 
taking the place of the Mother Goddess. Marduk provides the ideas, Ea 
implements them. Enbilulu as a creator is harder to find. The most detailed 
statement about him is in Enuma Elis VII 57-69, where he is identified with 
Marduk; Enbilulu is given as the head name and A e-pas-dun, A gu-gal, and 
d he-gdl as sub-names. His attributes are exclusively agricultural: providing 
the water which allows the fields to yield their crops for the consumption of 
god and man. This follows the tradition of Enki and the World Order 271-3, 
where Enki appoints Enbilulu as ku-gal id-da- ke4, "canal supervisor of the 
canals." 4 Jacobsen's identification of our Enbilulu with the goddess Bilulu 
in the myth Inanna and Bilulu 5 is problematical. The prefixing of EN to a 
divine name is no problem, nor is the different gender, but the character of 
the goddess in the myth is not sufficiently similar to that of Enbilulu for the 
matter to be sure. However, d nin-bi-lu-lu in the Early Dynastic Zami Hymns 6 
is no doubt our deity, since the name is associated with Tigris and Euphrates, 
and the NIN does not of course require a female deity. 

Since nothing in his character so far known explains Enbilulu 's arranging 
of time periods in the beginning, one must ask who is assigned this function 
elsewhere. The moon god Nanna or Sin is commonly considered to have 
organized these things, though working under greater gods. First, Kudur- 
mabug says of him: ud gi6-bi he he iti ge-en-ge-en mu silim-ma, "who 
alternates day and night, who fixes the month, who brings the year to 
completion." 7 This of course results from observation of the moon with 
some mythological addition. The same sort of thinking is expressed in the 
big Sumerian statue inscription of Kurigalzu A V, probably to be followed 

4 See A. Falkenstein's translation in "Sumerische religiose Texte," ZA 56 (1964) 106. 

5 Argued in Th. Jacobsen, "The Myth of Inanna and Bilulu," JNES 12 (1953) 167. 

6 R. D. Biggs, Inscriptions from Tell Abu SalabTkh (OIP 99; Chicago: The University of Chicago 
Press, 1974) p. 48:61^1. 

7 D. Frayne, Old Babylonian Period (2003-1595 BC) (RIME 4; Toronto: University of Toronto, 
1990) 220:4-6. 


W.G. Lambert 

by Bb II. 8 A Sumerian paragraph associated with Enuma Anu Enlil has Anu, 
Enlil, and Enki appointing Sin to regulate the new moon and month. 9 A free 
Babylonian version of this paragraph turns the new moon into "day" and 
slips in a mention of Samas, see also the Middle Babylonian version from 
Emar. 10 A further Akkadian paragraph of the same kind also names Anu, 
Enlil, and Ea as doing this task, in the line: 11 

gi6 U4- r zal n u-za- r 'P-[zu im-du-d]u iti u mu ib-nu-[u] 

They divided night and day, [measured them], and created month and year. 

The immediately following line mentions moon and sun, but is badly dam- 
aged. Thus there is nothing here to explain how Enbilulu got into this kind of 
operation. Enuma Elis itself has a close parallel to the idea, though expressed 
in entirely different words. Tablet V begins with Marduk organizing the year 
by means of the thirty-six stars, which means appointing the months. Then 
the moon is appointed to regulate the month by dividing it into four quarters, 
and finally the sun is appointed (in a very damaged section, lines 39-46) to 
organize the day into watches. This parallels the very concise statement of 
our new incantation, but there is no reason to suspect any direct connection. 
Thus we are left to wonder at the great diversity of material that comes 
up in incantations. Being magic, they were often left unchanged by the 
developments in theological thinking. The most curious item is line 6. Seven 
days is a well-known item in the Babylonian calendar, because the seventh 
day marked the end of the first quarter of the lunar month. The present writer 
will not speculate whether this mention of seven days being part of the plans 
for the universe at the beginning has any relevance for the Hebrew sabbath. A 
more pressing issue is what the seven months are. A thirty-day month divided 
into two halves and then the first half being divided into two, yields easily 
enough the seventh day and a seven day period but the twelve months of a 
lunar year, or even the thirteen months with the extra month added do not 
explain any group of seven, which seems to be unique to this text. Perhaps 
Erie has an idea. 

8 See S.N. Kramer, T. Baqir, and S.J. Levy, "Fragments from a Diorite Statue of Kurigalzu in 
the Iraq Museum," Sumer 4 (1948) 1 ff. 

9 See E. Weidner, "Die astrologische Serie Enuma Anu Enlil," AfO 14 (1941/4) 193 n. 93. 

10 D. Arnaud, Recherches au pays d'Astata. Emar 6/4 (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les 
Civilisations, 1987) 263: 80-2. 

11 E. Weidner, "Die astrologische Serie Enuma Anu Enlil, Tafel 15-22: Texte iiber Mondfin- 
sternisse," AfO 17 (1954-56) 89; B. Landsberger and XV Kinnier Wilson, "The Fifth Tablet of 
Enuma Elis'' JNES 20 (1961) 172; but here based on the original K tablets. 


Enbilulu and the Calendar 

BM 54692 


Fig. 1. 



M.P. Maidman 

In the mid-1990s a Nuzi-type tablet then in the possession of an antiquities 
dealer went on temporary exhibition at the Musee du Cinquantenaire in 
Brussels. While the tablet was in the custodianship of the Museum, Philippe 
Talon made a rough copy of the tablet. Since that time, the tablet has left the 
museum and has disappeared probably into the hands of a private collector. 
The museum has a photographic record of the tablet, but it is, to this point 
inaccessible to me. For the moment, then Talon's rough copy alone remains 
as an available facsimile of this document. 

Professor Talon informed me of the existence of this tablet and of his copy, 
claiming the latter to be a weak representation of the former. He graciously 
put his copy at my disposal to do with as I saw fit. For his generosity and 
cheerful goodwill I am most grateful. Considering the circumstances under 
which he made the copy and Talon's relative unfamiliarity with the Nuzi texts, 
the copy is a fine representation of the text. The signs are most often perfectly 
typical of what one expects to see in this corpus. In the few instances where 
they appear anomalous, it is usually simple to discern what Talon must have 

Thus, while full publication and edition must await the reemergence 
of the artifact — or at least the availability of photographs — a preliminary 
transliteration and translation may very reasonably be hazarded. Where 
signs or sign fragments are present but not clearly decipherable, the obscure 
grapheme is represented by an "x". 

The tablet measures 11.5x7x3 cm. and appears well preserved except 
for the top left and top right of the object. The most seriously affected parts 
are lines 1-3, 37-9. The contents record a typical Nuzi record of litigation 
involving illegal seizure and exploitation of real estate. The document does 
not belong in an obvious manner to any Nuzi or Arrapha or Kurruhanni 
archive known to me. 

As with all texts, even the most typical, new data — small gems — are to be 
found in the individual artifact (see the note to lines 7-8 for two examples). 
Thus, I present this morsel of Belgian chocolate to Erie Leichty with pleasure 
and gratitude for his instruction and wisdom freely dispensed over the many 


M. P. Maidman 

"TALON" #1 

1 [ m Ki-pd-l]i DUMU r A^-\r\i-ya 

2 [it-ti m T]e-hi-ya DUMU Zi-x-[ ]-x 

3 [u i]t-ti m A-ki-ya DUMU Nu/Be-x-[ ]-}>[a] ? 

4 i+na di-ni- (=IR) a-na pa-ni DI.KU5.MES 

5 sa URU Ar-~WA i-te-lu-'iP-ma 

6 um-ma m Ki-pd-li-ma 

7 7 GlS APIN A.SA.MES i+na A.GAR sa URU Ar-WA 

8 v P+na su-ta-a- r ni 1[ KASKAL-"' sa URU Nu-zi 

9 m ^- r fa"'->'a u m Te-hi-ya 

10 r a 1 -naya-si i-din-ma-mi 

11 m i-na- r an 1] -na A.SA.MES sa-'a-su 1 

12 itf-/u, 2 MU.MES-"" 

13 m Tar-mi-te-sup DUMU En-sa-a-ku 

14 ik-ta- r la t -a-mi it DI.KU5.MES 

15 mV A l -ki-yaii m Te-hi-ya 

16 [i]s-ta-lu-us um-ma m A- r ki-ya 1 

17 um-ma m Te ] -hi-ya-ma 

1 8 a-an-ni-mi 7 GiSAPIN A.SA.MES s[a]-a-f« 

19 a-rca m Ki-pd-li at-ta-din-m[i] 

20 « i+na-an-na A.SA.MES s[a-a-s]u 

lower edge 

2 1 m Tar-mi-te-sup x x [ ] 

22 r u' W>-tu 4 2 MU.MES-"''' PA x 

23 la a TCT? 


24 w i+na di-ni m Ki-pd- T lP 

25 HV-te-e-ma it DI.KU5.MES 

26 m Te-hi-ya u m A-ki-ya 

27 fa'-/ EME-su-nu-ma 

28 a-na 14 ANSE n SE.MES r w n 

29 a-na 14 s[a]-hi-ir-ri r IN.NU n 

30 a-na w-/7;'- r fa sa 7 n! (=3) GI si(=PA) APIN A. r sA n [.ME§?] 

31 sal MU. TviES-"'" 1 a-na m Ki-pd-li 

32 it-ta-du-us ii A.SA.MES r sa-a-su 1 

33 m Te-hi-ya u m A-ki-ya 

34 r P+na 1! -ak<-ki>- is-su-nu-ti-ma 

35 m a-wa m Ki-pd-li i+na-an-din- 

36 SU m A-kip-til-la DUB. r SAR n 

(seal impression) 


A Stray Nuzi Text from Belgium 

37 [ ]-x-/p-LUGAL 

38 [ -h]i-ya 

(seal impression) 

39 [ yti-'ya 1 
upper edge 

(seal impression) SU ? 
left edge (facing obverse) 

40 NA4 m Ki-pi- r ya n NA4 m U-n[dp- ] 


(1-5) Kipali son of Ariya took to court, before the judges of the town of ArwA, 
Tehiya son of Zi- . . . [and] Akiya son of Nu- / Be- . . . -ya 7 . 

(5-14) Now, thus Kipali: "Akiya and Tehiya gave to me a .7 homer plot of land in 
the ugaru of the town of ArwA, to the south of the road to the town of Nuzi. But now 
Tarmi-tesup son of En-saku has kept that land for two years." 

(14-16) Then the judges questioned Akiya and Tehiya. 

(16-23) Thus Akiya and thus Tehiya: "Indeed so; I (sic) gave to Kipali that .7 homer 
plot of land. And now that land Tarmi-tesup ... for(?) two years has kept(?)." 

(24-35) And Kipali won the case. The judges sentenced Tehiya and Akiya in 
accordance with their (i.e., Tehiya's and Akiya's) declaration, to wit, (to give) 14 
homers of barley and 14 bundles of straw as the yield of a .7(1, lit.: .3) homer plot 
of land for two years. Tehiya and Akiya shall sever(?) (that portion of) that field and 
give it to Kipali. 

(36) Hand of Akip-tilla, the scribe. 

(37-40) (seal impression) [Seal impression of] ...-ip-sarri; [seal impression of] ...- 
hiya (seal impression); [seal impression of] ...-tiya (seal impression) x?; [(seal 
impression)?] seal impression of Kipiya; [(seal impression)?] seal impression of 
Unap-... . 


The trial pits Kipali against a pair of adversaries. Kipali claims that a fourth 
party has illegally occupied a field ceded by the pair to him, Kipali. Kipali's 
adversaries admit that they had transferred title to the land to Kipali but that 
other occupancy then took place. The judges order the pair to give the land to 
Kipali and to compensate him for losses incurred during the period of illegal 


M. P. Maidman 

Implicit in this case is that subsequent to Kipali's originally having 
received title to the land, the same plot, possibly as part of a larger field, 
was ceded by the two to the fourth party. Hence culpability attaches to the 
two who had ceded the land not to the one who had received that land 


Lines 7-8: These two data regarding the town of ArwA seem to be attested 
here uniquely. Cf. Jeanette Fincke, Die Orts- und Gewassernamen der Nuzi- 
Texte (RGTC 10; Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert, 1993) 54-6. 

Line 13: For this person, see Paul Koschaker, "Drei Rechtsurkunden aus 
Arrapha," ZA 48 (1944) 166 1:20. 

Lines 20-2: Cf, perhaps, 11. 11-*. 

Line 23: r KT' Possibly: -ma'-. 

Line 30: r 7 1! (=3). It is possible that the surface of the tablet is partially 
effaced at this point and that "7" would originally have appeared here. 

Line 34: The reconstruction is hardly more than a guess, involving odd- 
looking signs, a scribal omission, a phonetic peculiarity, and an atypical 
locution in such a context. 

Line 35: dirfl Or: dl-[nu\. 

Line 36: A scribe named Akip-tilla appears in HSS 5 13:12, 18 and EN 9/1 
136:3, 15. 



Piotr Michalowski 

Divination is commonly thought to be one of the salient characteristics 
of Mesopotamian culture, and the great libraries of the late period were 
filled with long omen series. 1 And yet all these omens were composed 
in the Akkadian language, and not a single early omen in Sumerian has 
been found; virtually all such examples are very late bilingual texts that 
are clearly scholastic in nature. 2 The distribution of omen texts as well as 
the exclusively Akkadian technical terminology of the craft contrast with 
the information gleaned from other sources that provide ample evidence of 
divinatory practices in early times. 3 The most extensive Sumerian language 
description of extispicy is known from an often-cited passage in the elaborate 
hymn Sulgi B (11. 131-49), in which the king not only proclaims his own 
knowledge of the craft, but also manages to deprecate his court diviners in 
the bargain: 

mas-su-gid-gid dadag-ga-me-en 

giri-gen-na inim uzu-ga-ka d nin-tud-bi ga-e-me-en 

su-luh-ha nam-isib-ba su duyde 

1 The following abbreviations will be used here: Meyer, Untersuchungen = Jan-Waalke Meyer, 
Untersuchungen zu den Tonlebermodellen aus dem Alten Orient (AOAT 39; Kevelaer and 
Neukirchen-Vluyn: Verlag Butzon & Bercker and Neukirchener Verlag, 1987); Jeyes, OBE 
= Ulla Jeyes, Old Babylonian Extispicy: Omen Texts in the British Museum (PIHANS 64; 
Leiden: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, 1989); Koch-Westenholz, BLO = 
Ulla Koch-Westenholz, Babylonian Liver Omens: The Chapters Manzazu, Padanu and Pan 
takalti of the Babylonian Extispicy Series mainly from Ashurbanipal's Library (CNIP 25; 
Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2000); Michalowski, RCU = Piotr Michalowski, 
The Royal Correspondence ofUr (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, forthcoming). I would like 
to thank Jerry Cooper, Gonzalo Rubio, Avi Winitzer, and most importantly Niek Veldhuis for 
reading drafts and offering suggestions and references. 

2 See the comments of J. Bottero, "Symptomes, signes, ecritures en Mesopotamie ancienne," 
in Divination et Rationalite (ed. J. P. Vernant et al.; Paris: Edition du Seuil, 1974) 146 n. 1. 
The late first millennium bilingual omen texts were published by H. Hunger, SpTU 1 85-6 and 
SpTU 3 86 (there are also unpublished duplicates); Hunger notes that according to E. Reiner 
there are also unpublished astronomical omens of the same format (SpTU 1 90). Somewhat 
earlier is the Nimrud tablet CTN 4 89, with further references (courtesy N. Veldhuis). The 
sole Sumerian liver omen presently known from the Kassite period (UM 29-13-542) appears 
in N. Veldhuis, "Kassite Exercises: Literary and Lexical Extracts," JCS 52 (2000) 74, 89. 

3 The classic description is A. Falkenstein, "'Wahrsagung' in der sumerischen Uberlieferung," 
inCRRAI 14(1966)47-68; see, more recently, P. Steinkeller, "The Renting of Fields in Ancient 
Mesopotamia and the Development of the Concept of 'Interest' in Sumerian," JESHO 24 ( 1 98 1 ) 
1 1 3 — 45. As Jerry Cooper reminds me, the cumulative evidence speaks against J.-M. Durand's 
suggestion in Les documents epistolaires du palais de Mari, tome 3 (LAPO 1 8; Paris: Editions 
du Cerf, 2000) 93 that extispicy was more at home in the north and west than in the south. 


Piotr Michalowski 

en-ra za-mi-de gi6-par4-se hun-e 

lu-mah nin-dingir sa ku-ge pa-da 

sig-se sag ga-ga nim-se aga-kar si-ge 

e su-nir-ra-ke4 gal tag4-tag4-[ge-de] 

gis-gid-da a me tti5-tti5-[de] 

ki bal-a-se sa galam-ma ga-ga-[de] 

inim dingir-re-e-ne nig kal-kal-la-am 

sila4 babbar udu kin-gi4-a-ka is-gar u-bi-gar-gar 

ki mu pa-de-ba a ese4 ba-ni-de 

inim sizkur-ra-ka udu sa am-mi-ni-ib-gi4-gi4-in 

mas-su-gid-gid-mu na-ga-ah-gin7 U6 mu-e 

udu sa gi4-a su-ga ma-an-dabs 

sa6-ga hul-da la-ba-an-da-ha-ze-en 

sa zalag ni-ga-me-en igi-mu-ta i-du-un 

lugal-me-en sa udu dis-kam 

a-ag-ga nig ki sar-ra-ka igi mu-na-ni-dug 4 

"I am a ritually pure diviner, 

I am Nintu of the written lists of omens! 5 

For the proper performance of the lustrations of the office of high priest, 

For singing the praises of the high priestess and (their) selection for (residence 

in) the gipar, 

For the choosing of the Lumah and Nindingir priests by holy extispicy, 

For (decision to) attack the south or strike the north, 

For opening the storage of (battle) standards, 

For the washing of lances in the "water of battle," 

And for making wise decisions about rebel lands, 

The (ominous) words of the gods are most precious, indeed! 

After taking a propitious omen from a white lamb — an ominous animal — 

At the place of questioning water and flour are libated; 

I make ready the sheep with ritual words 

And my diviner watches in amazement like a barbarian. 

The ready sheep is placed in my hand, and I never confuse a favorable sign with 

an unfavorable one. 

In the insides of a single sheep I, the king, 

Can find the (divine) messages for the whole universe." 6 

4 G. R. Castellino, Two Sulgi Hymns (BC) (Studi Semitici 42; Rome: Istituto di Studi del 
vicino Oriente, Universita di Roma, 1972) 44-7. With minor changes the composite text and 
line numbering follow the manuscript of G. Haayer. 

5 Note also Sulgi C 95-6 (Castelllino, Two Sulgi Hymns 254): sa-ta d nin-tud gal-zu nig-nam- 
ma in-ga-me-na-ta uzu-ga ki dadag-ga-ba gizkim mu-ni-zu, "Moreover, because from the very 
womb I am Nintu, wise in all things, I know how to read the signs of extispicy in the ritually 
purified place (of sacrifice)." See also the OB Sumerian text PBS 5 76 vi 3-10 (cited by Jeyes, 
OBE 30, courtesy of A. Winitzer). 

6 The ideological message of this hymn strongly asserts the independence of the king from his 
specialists, scribes, priests, etc., and is clearly meant to put them in their place. For a somewhat 


How to Read the Liver — In Sumerian 

The issue is therefore primarily the absence of written Sumerian omen 
collections, although this is not without consequences for the analysis of 
the manner in which the ancient diviners read the messages inscribed by the 
gods in the internal organs of sheep and elsewhere, since the use of written 
omen materials does not antedate the Old Babylonian period. Despite the 
fact that no omen texts have been found that antecede the Old Babylonian 
period the second line of the hymn cited above seems to refer to written 
omens. In Ur III texts the word giri-gin-na usually refers to lists, as in Sulgi 
26:80 (giri-gin-na gasam-ma) or the literary catalog TuM NF 3 55:16-21 
where it designates lists of text incipits. 7 

Side by side with the earliest omen compendia we find practical omen 
reports that bear witness to the manner in which the omen specialists actually 
operated and therefore it is difficult to establish the actual role of omen texts 
in this period. That is to say, omens centered on one or more features, 
organized in the form of protasis and apodosis, would serve to help interpret 
specific marks as positive or negative, but the outcome and full import of 
any extispicy inquiry would only emerge from the tabulation of negative and 
positive features as documented by the practical Old Babylonian reports. 8 In 
Sargonid reports omens for each encountered diagnostic sign are cited but 
this is not normally the case for Old Babylonian reports; only one preserved 
report from this period actually quotes omens. 9 The earliest omen exemplars, 
found on the liver models from Mari, clearly had a didactic purpose, but the 
function of the slightly later texts from Babylonia, such as the ones published 
by A. Goetze in YOS 10, remains unclear. 

One might speculate that the earliest written omens and the omen com- 
pendia were designed as speculative illustrations or even explanations of the 
positive or negative import of specific features and their context. The actual 
practice of omen analysis involved the tabulation of positive and negative 
features, but the individual omen allowed for a broader speculative analysis 
of the reasons for the positive or negative reading of a given feature and its 
localization in the exta. 

Not being an expert on the subject, I shall refrain from speculation on this 
matter, but, as we celebrate Erie Leichty, I wish to offer him something that 
he might find amusing, perhaps even of interest: the earliest known omen 

different view see J.-M. Durand, ARM 26 25 n. 87. 

7 Note also the Adab text OIP 14 193, cited by R. Englund, Fischerei 54-5, where giri-gen-na 
lugal/PN/gentilic also probably means "for the lists/accounts of the king/PN/gentilic." 

8 On OB omen reports see, most recently, the articles by Ulla Koch-Westenholz, "Old 
Babylonian Extispicy Reports," and Seth Richardson, "Ewe Should Be So Lucky: Extispicy 
Reports and Everyday Life," in Studies Walker 131-47 and 229^4, respectively. As Koch- 
Westenholz notes (136), most of the published reports are northern and Late OB, but the two 
texts that she publishes (136-9) are southern and probably earlier in date. 

9 W.R. Mayer, "Ein altbabylonischer Opferschaubericht aus Babylon," OrNS 56 (1987) 


Piotr Michalowski 

in the Sumerian language. To be sure, the text is literary and unrelated to 
the actual practice of extispicy, but it does show that some Old Babylonian 
schoolteachers had knowledge of the subject and made peculiar usage of this 
knowledge. The only other presently known Old Babylonian school text with 
materials related to extispicy is a bilingual exercise of unknown origin in the 
Hearst Museum. 10 

The text at issue is a short passage in a school letter addressed by King 
Ibbi-Sin of Ur to Puzur-Numusda, the governor of Kazallu during his reign. 
A full edition will be included in my forthcoming edition of the royal letters 
of the Ur III kings, together with a fuller discussion of the complex Old 
Babylonian manuscript tradition of this missive. 11 For now it will suffice to 
say that this composition is preserved in two versions, short and long; the 
first is known from six tablets from Nippur, Sippar, and Kis, while the latter 
is attested only from two tablets of unknown provenience. The seam between 
the two versions is quite telling, as the added lines are written in a highly 
learned, one is tempted to say poetic, diction that differs substantially from 
the "standard" version. In this missive the king admits that Enlil had cursed 
Sumer, but that things would soon change, as Enlil had looked favorably 
upon him and had provided him with a favorable omen. 

The long version of the missive is found on A 7475, a large two-column 
tablet that contained all four Ibbi-Sin/Isbi-Erra/Puzur-Numusda letters, here 
called G, and MM 1039, a broken single column tablet that is here designated 
as H. The former, part of the holdings of the Oriental Institute of the 
University of Chicago, was apparently purchased in Iraq by Henri Frankfort, 
but there is no indication of its origin; it was written on the seventeenth day 
of the fifth month of the twenty-seventh year of Samsuiluna of Babylon. The 
latter, preserved in the collection of the museum of the Abadia de Montserrat, 
likewise purchased in Iraq, may derive from the excavations conducted before 
World War I in Babylon. 12 

One must admit that this passage is lexically and syntactically difficult, 
and that the solutions proposed here are provisional at best, since the only 
way to solve the puzzles is to try to work out how the writer invented 
a Sumerian extispicy terminology in back translation from Akkadian. The 
differences between the two manuscripts and the incomplete state of H further 

10 D. A. Foxvog, "A Manual of Sacrificial Procedure," in Studies Sjoberg 1 67-76. 
1 ' For the presently known sources see note 1 8 below. 

12 I am indebted to Miguel Civil for the information on MM 1039; Civil was also kind enough 
to give me his copy of the tablet some years ago and more recently he sent me a digital 
photograph. His copy, as well as a photo, are now available in M. Molina and B. Bock, "Textos 
y fragmentos literarios sumerios," AuOr 15 (1997) 36 (copy), 40 (photo). M. Molina graciously 
sent me his own digital photographs as well. High resolution digital photographs of both tablets 
will be included in Michalowski, RCU. 


How to Read the Liver — In Sumerian 

complicate the matter. My only regret is that I did not ask Erie Leichty for 
advice on these matters; perhaps now that this passage has been made known, 
he and other omen specialists will do a better job. 

The omen concerns a mark on the liver that is labeled s i§ tukul, "the 
Weapon," Akkadian kakkum. This is one of the most characteristic features 
analyzed in Mesopotamian extispicy, and it has been analyzed and com- 
mented on many times, most recently by J.-W. Meyer, U. Jeyes, and U. Koch- 
Westenholz. 13 As S. Lieberman argued this feature was interpreted as a sign 
that looked like the "the grapheme GAG," and thus had reference, secondary 
perhaps, to cuneiform writing. 14 However, the main semantic import was 
linked to the signifier kakkum; in the words of Koch-Westenholz, "unsurpris- 
ingly, many of the apodoses of the Weapon compendia and of omens from all 
over the series with a Weapon in the protasis concern warfare and the armed 
forces." 15 Although the author of the additions did not include the character- 
istic omen opening "if, supposing that," (tukum-bi = summa), the structure 
of lines 41-3 leads one to the conclusion that it was meant to be interpreted 
as an interpolated omen or omen report, with protasis and apodosis. 

37 G igi nig-sa6- r ga n -ni ga-ra mu-un-si-in-ni-bar 
H omits line. 

38 G sa-ne-sa4-mu sa kii-ga-se mu-un-gar 
H omits line. 

39 G kin-gizj-a-mu uzu silim-ma-ke4 ma-an-gar 
H [kin-gU-a-'ga 1 uzu silim-ma im-ma-an-gar 

40 G uzu zi-da-na uzu giib-bu-ga r a n SLA ii-mi-ni-ak 
H [ o o z]i-da a gub-bu-ba a SI. A u-mu-ni-ak 

4 1 G s is tukul a zi-da-ga gu-bi zi-da ul giir-ru mi-ni-ak 
H omits line. 

42 G s is tukul gub-bu-na gu-da la-la gu-ri-bi gar-ra 
H omits line. 

43 G lii hul-gal-mu su-ga i-ga-ga sag gis bi-ra 
H [oo] r gar-e su-ga i-in-dabs-be saggis-bi ra-ra 

The two versions differ substantially and must be translated separately: 

Version G 

35 (Enlil) has looked upon me with grace and 36 has taken my supplication to 
(his) holy heart; 37 he established for me in my omens the favorable parts. 

13 Jeyes, OBE 81-3; Koch-Westenholz, BLO 48-51; both argue, against Meyer, that it is a 
negative mark. A. Winitzer, who is working on these matters for his doctoral thesis, disagrees, 
claiming that the value of such marks is always relative. 

14 S. Lieberman, "The Names of Cuneiform Signs," in Studies Finkelstein 149. 

15 Koch-Westenholz, BLO 51. 


Piotr Michalowski 

^Furthermore, he fashioned the right side for him, and the left side for me. 
39 He beautifully set there the Weapon on my favorable side with a straight flank; 
40 the Weapon on his unfavorable side was present and (looked over) to the other 
side, bound steadfast to the filament. 41 (This means:) "My enemy will be delivered 
over to me and killed." 

Version H 

37 He has established for me in my omens the favorable parts. ^Furthermore, 
when he fashioned in them the right side and the left side 41 (the meaning of the 
omen became) "My enemy will be captured and killed." 

Notes to the Texts 

Line 37. The normal Sumerian version of this expression does not have nig; 
e.g., NL 229 an-ne d en-lil-le igi sa6-ga-ne-ne im-si-in-bar-re-es-am. The only 
other example that is similar to the one found here known to me is found 
in an incantation VAS 17 14:17-8 d utu agrun-na-ta [x x x] igi nig-sa6-ga-ni 
he-[em-ku-ge]. The difference between ADJECTIVE and nig-ADJECTIVE 
in Sumerian is not clear to me. 

Line 39. This line contains two technical terms: kin-gizt-a and uzu silim- 
ma. The former is undoubtedly tertum or amutum; see D. Foxvog in Studies 
Sjoberg 172-3. Sumerian uzu is sometimes used as synonym for tertum, but 
here it probably has a more limited meaning; the phrase is a back translation 
from Akkadian strum salmum, "favorable ominous part." As such, uzu prob- 
ably reflects the more generalized technical use of strum to designate various 
sorts of ominous phenomena, as discussed by J.-M. Durand, ARM 26 15-9. 

Line 40. The two sides of the liver are here described as uzu zi-da and uzu 
gub-bu; the pars familiaris and pars hostilis, for which see I. Starr, The 
Rituals of the Diviner (BiMes 12; Malibu, Calif.: Undena, 1983) 15-29. 

The reading a-diri, or perhaps better a-SI.A, if correct, presents multiple 
difficulties. PSD A/2 s.v. renders a-diri A as "superior strength," and this 
vocable is clearly not at issue here. There remains the administrative term a 
diri, "additional work (assignment)," listed in the dictionary on the following 
page, and one might consider that the usage in the letter is related to the 
latter. With all due caution, one may suggest that the author used it here in an 
adverbial sense, hence the translation "additionally, furthermore!' The two 
texts differ substantially here, but note that the ascription of the right side to 
Isbi-Erra and the left to Ibbi-Sin in G in line 40 seems to be reversed in 4 1 and 
42. Perhaps a-diri should be understood as "additional side" and the line ren- 
dered as "then he made side(s) in addition to his right side and my left side." 


How to Read the Liver — In Sumerian 

Lines 41-2. These lines are only found in G. The expressions s i§ tukul a zi-da 
and s i§ tukul gub-bu are renditions of Akkadian kak imittim and kak sumelim, 
"Weapon of the right/left (side of a permanent feature)." 16 

The translation of the verb, admittedly somewhat uncertain, is based on 
ul-gur-ru = mi-nu-u-tum (OBGT 11 iv 11' [MSL 4 117]; Proto-Izi II Bil. A 
iv 13' [MSL 13 58]). 

In Akkadian liver divination texts gu = qum, "filament," another negative 
mark. 17 As Jeyes observed, this feature connotes restraint or obstruction, 
which in this case must pertain to Isbi-Erra. The verb la renders Akkadian 
suqallulum, "to be suspended," which is commonly used in conjunction with 
the "filament." 

Line 43. It is clear that the verb su. . .gar (text H) is used here in a manner quite 
different from standard Sumerian usage. Normally this verb is the equivalent 
of Akkadian gamalum, "to spare," but this makes no sense here, although it 
might actually hide a double meaning (see below). More probably it is an 
attempt to render the Akkadian expression qatam kasadum, encountered in 
Old Babylonian omen apodoses. This is parallel to the Akkadian expression 
that is found in omen and dream reports from Mari: ana qdtim mullum, "to 
deliver (to someone)." Note ARMT 10 8 = ARM 26 no. 214:12-4: na-ak-ri- 
ka a-na qa-ti-ka u-ma-al-la, "I will deliver your enemies to you," (quotation 
from the speech of a woman who fell in a trance in the temple of Annumtum). 
Similar phrases are found in the highly formalized letters of Dam4iurasim to 
Zimri-Lim, ARMT 10 62 and 63. There remains the possibility that the line 
should be translated "My enemy shall be handed over to me and killed." 

Text H has the more common su. . .dabs, "to capture." Just as su. . .gar may 
be interpreted in both the positive and negative sense, the literal rendition 
of su. . .dabs into Akkadian would lead to an antonym, since qatam sabatum 
means to "take a person's hand, to lead," in a positive, protective sense. 


As already noted, the two sources for this passage have no provenience, 
but it is fairly certain that these additions to the letter were not known at 
Nippur, Sippar, or Kis. 18 Whoever added the section had some knowledge 

16 For the Akkadian see Jeyes, OBE 82. 

17 See Jeyes, OBE 91-2 and Koch-Westenholz, BLO 63 with previous literature. 

!« The short recension is documented by Nippur texts CBS 7772 (MBI 9), CBS 14224 (PBS 13 
3), CBS 14230 (PBS 13 6), Ni 4061+4188 (ISET 2 118-9 and unpub. fragments), Sippar: Si 
557 (unpub.), and Kis: AO 10630 (PRAK 2 C10). The finer points of the manuscript tradition 
will be discussed in the forthcoming edition (Michalowski, RCU). There are now reasons to 
suspect that A 7475 may come from Sippar. 


Piotr Michalowski 

of Akkadian extispicy, a subject that does not seem to have been included 
in normal school instruction at Nippur and in the places that used a similar 
curriculum such as Ur, Uruk, or Isin. Given the quality and quantity of 
information at our disposal, anything one may be tempted to say about the 
actual school function of Old Babylonian omen texts will undoubtedly have 
to remain in the realm of idle speculation, but it may be useful to focus 
attention on some interesting facts. 

Christian Dyckhoff has collected enough information to suggest that 
most of the known OB omen texts come from Larsa, from the estate of 
Balmunamhe. 19 This pertains to the YBC tablets from Yale published by 
A. Goetze in YOS 10 to which should be added the two Istanbul tablets made 
available by Scheil. 20 Moreover, the only other Old Babylonian omens of 
known origin are YOS 10 60 from Esnunna, another from nearby Ishchali, 21 
one tablet from Sippar with physiognomic omens, 22 one Summa dlu type 
omen tablet from late Old Babylonian Haradum, 23 and eight omen tablets 
unearthed at Tell Yelkhi. 24 Nippur has yielded very few Old Babylonian 
omens 25 and the same holds true for Ur. 26 The only other sizable group 
probably comes from Sippar. 27 

One other missive from the royal correspondence of Ur has an insert sim- 
ilar in language and diction to the one encountered in the Ibbi-Sin — Puzur- 
Numusda epistle. The letter from Isbi-Erra to the king likewise contains a 
long passage that is not found in the Nippur recension. 28 Four unexcavated 
sources are known: IM 44134 (J.J. A. van Dijk, "Textes divers du Musee de 
Bagdad III," Sumer 15 [1959] pi. 7, TIM 9 40), A 7475, Ashm 1922-167 
(OECT 5 29), and Ashm 1930-581 (OECT 5 28). The first covers only the 

19 Christian Dyckhoff, "Das Haushaltsbuch des Balmunamhe 1" (Ph.D. diss., Ludwig-Maxi- 
milians-Universitat, Munich, 1999) 110-2. 

20 "Nouveaux presages tires du foie," RA 27 (1930) 142, 149. 

21 Greengus, Ishchali pis. xcii-xcvii. 

22 From the Sippar collection in Istanbul, see Kraus, Texte pis. 63-5. 

23 F. Joannes, "Un precurseur paleo-babylonien de la serie Summa dlu," in Studies De Meyer 

24 O. Rouault and C. Saporetti, "Old Babylonian Texts from Tell Yelkhi," Mesopotamia 20 
(1985) nos. 150, 151, 154, 203, 206, 208, 223, and 225. 

25 PBS 1/2 99 (collations by Leichty, in Studies Finkelstein 143 — 4). The Nippur origin of this 
tablet is not fully certain; as Steve Tinney kindly informs me, "the catalogue entry does say 
that it is from Nippur, but at that point in the catalogue there are none of the comments on find 
spot that characterize the earlier entries made by Hilprecht." 

2f > D.B. Weisberg, "An Old Babylonian Forerunner of summa alu," HUCA 40^11 (1969-70) 

87-104; Jeyes, OBE no. 10. 

27 These include most of the tablets in Jeyes, OBE, the previously published British Museum 

tablets listed there on p. 4, as well as CBS 156 (Leichty, in Studies Finkelstein 144), from the 

University Museum Khabaza collection. 

2 » Nippur sources: CBS 2272 (PBS 13 9), Ni 3045 + 3093+4489 (ISET 2 121), Ni 3083 

(ISET 2 121), 3 N-T 306 (A 30207, unpub.). There are now reasons to question the Nippur 

origin of N; 3083. 


How to Read the Liver — In Sumerian 

beginning of the text and not the passage in question, the second is the same 
tablet that contained the other Ibbi-Sin letter, and the last two are a matched 
pair, containing the beginning and end of the longer version. There is a 
high probability that both Ashmolean museum tablets may also have to be 
ascribed to Larsa. 29 

There are internal clues to the Larsa origin of the longer versions as 
well: the complex, highly baroque style of these additions is very much 
in the Larsa literary style that is known from Old Babylonian Sumerian 
royal hymns, literary letters, and other texts from that kingdom that radiated 
to other places such as Mari and Me-Turan. I have written about this 
briefly elsewhere, 30 but the full elucidation of this difficult material is left to 
Nicole Brisch, who has discussed this new style, with many important new 
interpretations, in her doctoral dissertation. 31 Within the narrow constraints 
of the present discussion one can only argue that all of these strands point 
in the same direction: the Larsa origin of the convoluted Sumerian omen 
embedded in the literary letter. The person or people responsible for this 
worked in an environment in which omens were either part of the learning 
process or part of their adult professional activities; this may have been 
the "library" of the Enki temple discussed by Dyckhoff — I prefer to see 
this as the home of the priestly family — or some other building complex 
in the city that belonged to a family of omen interpreters. One thinks 
of the similar situations at Me-Turan and in the houses of Ur-Utu and 
Estar-iddinam/Inana-mansum in Tell ed-Der, 32 where excavators discovered 
collections of Sumerian school texts as well as specialist practical materials 
such as incantations and rituals. 

29 On the Larsa provenience of some other Sumerian literary texts from the Ashmolean 
Museum see S. Tinney, "On the Curricular Setting of Sumerian Poetry," Iraq 61 (1999) 162-3. 

30 Review of J.-M. Durand, Les documents epistolaires du palais de Mari, tome 1. RA 92 
(1998) 190. 

31 Nicole M. Brisch, "Tradition and the Poetics of Innovation: Sumerian Court Literature of 
the Larsa Dynasty (2003-1763 BCE)" (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2003). 

32 A. Cavigneaux, "A Scholar's Library in Meturan? With an Edition of the Tablet H 72 
(Textes de Tell Haddad VII)," in Mesopotamian Magic: Textual, Historical, and Interpretative 
Perspectives (ed. T. Abusch and K. van der Toorn; AMD 1; Groningen: Styx, 1999) 251-73 
and M. Tanret and K. van Lerberghe, "Rituals and Profits in the Ur-Utu Archive," in Ritual and 
Sacrifice in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the International Conference Organized by 
the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven from thel 7 th to the 20th of April 1991 (ed. J. Quaegebeur; 
OLA 55; Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters en Departement Orientalistiek, 1994) 435-50. The tablets 
from the Inana-mansum house are being published by Michel Tanret, who kindly informs me 
that in addition to the school texts, now published in Michel Tanret, Per aspera ad astra. 
L'apprentissage du cuneiforme a Sippar-Amnanum pendant la periode paleobabylonienne 
tardive (MHE Texts 1/2; Ghent: Universite de Gand, 2002), the house also contained twelve 
divination reports and nine prayers, as well as five texts which are catalogued "religious," one 
of which may be omen-like. 


Piotr Michalowski 


Whatever the provenience of the additions, one has to assume that whoever 
inserted them, and the teachers and students who read them were well aware 
that this omen had not come true. Old Babylonian teaching materials told the 
tale of the fall of Ur in poems such as the Lamentation over the Destruction 
of Sumer and Ur, and those who studied omen texts knew well that the 
portents linked to Ibbi-Sin meant only one thing: disaster. 33 This makes one 
suspicious about the nature of the implied message; was the omen false, that 
is to say did Enlil and the gods trick the last king of Ur, or was the king foolish 
enough to misread the message inscribed upon the liver? Neither possibility 
should be ruled out, but here, at the moment when the Ur III dynasty begins 
to unravel in the historiographic tradition, the problem finds resonance in a 
line from the text that described the death of Ur-Namma, the founder of this 
royal line: "Enlil deceitfully changed the fate that he had established." 34 To 
solve this problem, we will have to attempt our own reading of the liver and 
match our modern knowledge with the skills of the Old Babylonian expert 
who wrote these words. 

In the text cited above, the right side pertains to Isbi-Erra and the left 
to Ibbi-Sin, as indexed by the pronoun usage. In the semiotic calculus 
of Mesopotamian liver divination, a negative sign on the right would be 
unfavorable, but if it was found on the left side it was favorable. 35 This 
generalization holds true for the most part, but in the case of features such 
as the Weapon it is governed by additional nuances that must be taken 
into consideration, although there has been some debate as to the proper 
understanding of the syntax of the sign. Generally, the Weapon presages bad 
military news for the party whose side it faces, so that one on the right facing 
left implies defeat of the enemy. The state of affairs has been summarized 
by Koch-Westenholz, who tabulates the various combinations that result in 
positive and negative messages, but unfortunately the wording found in the 
letter is too vague to be read by means of this reconstructed syntax. 36 

The form of the "omen" requires a brief comment. As already noted the 
wording of these lines and the technical terminology leave no doubt that 
a full omen was embedded in the letter, albeit without the characteristic 

33 Akkadian sahluqtum. The "historical" omens have been discussed time and again, most 
recently by J. S. Cooper, "Apodictic Death and the Historicity of 'Historical' Omens," in 
CRRAI 26 (1980) 99-105. 

34 Ur-Namma A 9: ^en'-lil-le nam-tar-ra du-a r su 1 lul [mi]-ni-ib-bal. For a different translation 
see E. Fliickiger-Hawker, Urnamma ofUr in Sumerian Literary Tradition (OBO 166; Fribourg: 
University Press, 1999) 102. 

35 U Jeyes, "The 'Palace Gate' of the Liver: A Study in Terminology and Methods in 
Babylonian Extispicy," JCS 30 (1978) 209. 

36 Koch-Westenholz, BLO 50. 


How to Read the Liver — In Sumerian 

opening word summa/tukum-bi, "if." In Old Babylonian letters descriptions 
of the results of extispicy were as a rule related to actual practice, therefore 
resemble the reports rather than the omen compendia, and furthermore list 
the traditional regular diagnostic features on the exta. The kakku elements 
could be found in a number of places and configurations and therefore are 
only mentioned if they appear in conjunction with a regular feature. The only 
parallel known to me is the anomalous omen report from Babylon VAS 24 
116, which contains both the standard descriptions of regular features as well 
as apodosis-like sentences but without the introductory summa, similar to 
the Sumerian passage under discussion here. 37 

There is little left to say about this unusual use of extispicy terminology 
in an Old Babylonian school letter. Philological problems abound in this text, 
but no matter how successful our solutions, questions remain: how was this 
passage read in light of the historical facts that were known to the scholars 
and schoolchildren of the time; was the addition in any way subversive or 
is it merely an ancient wink, playing artfully with commonly known facts? 
At this juncture the differences between the two versions may help reveal 
some of the games at play; they are obviously free variations on a common 
theme rather than slightly different renditions of the same text, and each 
one contains a structurally similar, albeit literally different word play. A 
moderately accomplished scribe or even a student would have undoubtedly 
been able to recognize that the apodosis of the omen could be read in two 
ways: 38 

G: "My enemy will be delivered over to me/spared and killed." 

H: "My enemy will be captured/taken by me protectively by the hand and killed." 

Of course, the final verbs strongly proclaimed the negative implications of 
the surface reading of the apodosis, but the fact that two writers rendered this 
double entendre in different ways may indicate that the shifting semantics of 
this passage were already part of a common tradition of multiple subversive 
readings of the Ibbi-Sin correspondence that wove a critique of extispicy, 
historiography, as well as hidden commentary on current events from the 
time of Samsuiluna. A fuller discussion of these reading strategies must be 
reserved for the final publication of these letters. 

37 Mayer, OrNS 56 (1987) 245-62. 

38 See the commentary to line 43 . 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 


Four small collections of cuneiform tablets have been located in Utah in 
addition to the recently published collection in the University of Utah Natural 
History Museum. 1 Most of the tablets were acquired early in the last century 
from Edgar J. Banks 2 and a few from private donors, although the ultimate 
source of the donors' tablets was probably also Banks. The record of tablets 
sold by Banks to universities, libraries, and private individuals throughout 
the United States is remarkable not only for the number of tablets involved 3 

1 Dr. Wasilewska, Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, has been locating cunei- 
form collections as part of her research on the career of Edgar J. Banks. So far she has found 
five cuneiform collections in Utah ( 1 . University of Utah Natural History Museum [the Ur III 
texts in this collection were published by D. I. Owen with an introduction by E. Wasilewska, 
"Neo-Sumerian Texts in the University of Utah Museum of Natural History, Salt Lake City," 
ASJ 19 (1997) 147-228]; 2. Brigham Young University [only two Ur III texts published]; 3. 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake 
City; 4. the LDS Institute of Religion associated with the Utah State University at Logan; 
and 5. the Utah State University Museum of Anthropology), as well as one in Arizona (the 
Arizona State Museum, Tucson, published in D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska, "Cuneiform Texts 
in the Arizona State Museum, Tucson," JCS 52 [2000] 1-53). Dr. Wasilewska arranged for 
temporary loans of the tablets for study, obtained funds for D I. Owen's visits to Salt Lake City, 
and provided generous hospitality during those visits. In addition, she prepared the collections' 
general catalogues and made photographs of all the texts. Owen is responsible for the copies, 
final catalogues, commentaries, and indexes. We are grateful to Dr. Rudi Mayr of Lawrenceville 
for his help in the identification of certain seals, Remco de Maaijer of Leiden for checking the 
Ur III texts against his extensive files, and Professor Matthew Stolper of Chicago for his help 
with the Neo-Babylonian tablets. Professor Ran Zadok of Tel Aviv University will publish the 
Neo-Babylonian texts elsewhere. 

For their cooperation and assistance in locating the tablets we would like to thank Dr. 
Glen M. Leonard, director; Glenn Rowe, director of special collections; Mark Staker, curator; 
and Gloria Scovill, art registrar, all of the LDS Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake 
City, Utah. Our gratitude goes also to Professors Steve Simms and David Lancey, Utah State 
University at Logan, for their interest and assistance in locating tablets in Logan. 

2 Dr. Wasilewska has been researching the life and career of E.J. Banks since 1995. Her 
publication, tentatively entitled, The Forgotten Indiana Jones: Edgar James Banks and his Life 
Story, is in preparation. The project of locating "forgotten" tablets coming from Banks' sales 
would not be possible without the financial support of the Utah Humanities Council, the Utah 
Museum of Natural History, and especially Mr. Richard Trevithick. Additional thanks are due 
also to our friends and students in Utah for their various contributions. Finally, we would like to 
acknowledge our appreciation for the personal interest in the project by His Excellency, Mike 
Leavitt, former Governor of Utah, and now US Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

3 Various estimates of the number of tablets sold by Banks exist, but the exact number is not 
known. In any case it is in the thousands. 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

but also for the diverse places in which these tablets are found. The collections 
published here, those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 
Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City (hereafter LDS), the 
LDS Institute of Religion associated with the Utah State University at 
Logan (hereafter LoganIR) and of the Utah State University Museum of 
Anthropology (hereafter USU), have remained largely unknown and, to our 
knowledge, unstudied. 

This article contains a catalogue and description of all texts in these 
collections along with copies, 4 transliterations, and indexes of the Ur III 
tablets. None of the texts is unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. They all stem 
from well-known sites and archives, and each adds a small piece to the data 
that are allowing a more accurate and in-depth picture of the socio-economic 
structure of Mesopotamia. 

We dedicate this article to Erie V Leichty, who has devoted great effort to 
facilitating the publication of tablets in the Babylonian Section of the Univer- 
sity Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and to making the huge Sippar 
collection in the British Museum more accessible through his catalogues. 



LDS 40-351 

S 46/i/- 


delivery of an ox 


LoganIR 3 

S 47/iii/7 


receipt for dead animals 


LoganIR 5 

AS 1/ix/- 


newborn lamb and kid 
taken in charge 


LDS 40-384 



receipt for dead sheep 
and goats 


LDS 40^120 

AS 7/iii/23 


2 sheep taken in charge 


LoganIR 1 

SS 21-1- 


1 ox taken in charge 


LDS 40-280 

SS 4/ii/- 


expenditure of oxen, 
sheep and goats for the 
household of Kubatum 


LDS 40^123 

SS 4/ix/6 


receipt for 1 dead lamb 

LDS 40-398 SS 61-19 


dead sheep and goats 
for the kitchen [taken 
in charge] for the 

continued on next page 

4 Copies of nos. 29-34, 37, and 43 are not included here. 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

10 LDS 40-303 SS 7/viii/- 


36 billy goats taken in 
charge for sattukku- 
offerings for Annumtum 
of Uruk 


LDS 40-359 

SS 8/vi/- 


expenditure of 1 dead 


LDS 40-248 

date lost 


account of sheep and 
goats for the Tummal 
and various individuals 


LoganIR 2 

S 37?/vi/- 


account of date palm 


LDS 40^181 

S 42/ix/- 


receipt for reeds for the 


LDS 40-386 

S 44/-/- 


barley rations for 
various individuals 


LoganIR 9 

S 45/vi/- 


receipt for dates 


LDS 40^167 

S 46/vii/- 


receipt for barley 


LDS 40-283 

S 48/xi/- 


delivery of garments 


LDS 40^142 

S 48/xii/- 


receipt for 4 gur of fine 


LDS 40^197 

AS 3/-/- 


receipt for 6 sheep skins 


LoganIR 7 

AS 5/iii-iv/- 


account of workers for 
agricultural work 


LDS 40^136 

AS 5/i/- 


account of agricultural 


LDS 40^154 

AS 6/x/- 


receipt for a dead goat 


LDS 40-396 



account of slave girl 


LDS 40-298 

SS 2/vi/- 


receipt for flour from the 


LoganIR 8 

SS 4/xii/- 


[...] taken in charge 


LoganIR 4 

SS 61-1- 


account of silver for the 
purchase of electrum? 


LDS 40-263 

IS 1,1-1- 


account of £ i§ pes from 
various gardens 


LDS 40^145 

[date lost?] 


messenger text 





clay nail 


LoganIR 10 



clay cone 

continued on next page 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 


LDS 40-504 



clay cone 


LDS 40-722 



clay cone 


LDS 40-511 



model tablet 


LoganIR 6 


silver loan contract 


LDS 40^176 



uninscribed bulla 


LDS 40-513 



receipt for barley rations 


LDS 40^164 



receipt, mostly illegible 


LDS 40-15 



mostly illegible 


LDS 40-506 



LDS 40-14 




LDS 40^199 



USU 15 A3 


brick fragment 


LDS 40-18 


terracotta Istar? figurine 


LDS 40-14 = 


LDS 40-420 = 

= 5 

LDS 40-513 = 37 

LDS 40-15 = 


LDS 40^123 = 

= 8 

LDS 40-722 = 33 

LDS 40-18 = 


LDS 40^136 = 

= 22 

LoganIR 1=6 

LDS 40-248 

= 12 

LDS 40^142 = 

= 19 

LoganIR 2= 13 

LDS 40-263 

= 28 

LDS 40^145 = 

= 29 

LoganIR 3=2 

LDS 40-280 

= 7 

LDS 40^154 = 

= 23 

LoganIR 4 = 27 

LDS 40-283 

= 18 

LDS 40^164 = 

= 38 

LoganIR 5 = 3 

LDS 40-298 

= 25 

LDS 40^167 = 

= 17 

LoganIR 6 = 35 

LDS 40-303 

= 10 

LDS 40^-76 = 

= 36 

LoganIR 7 = 21 

LDS 40-351 

= 1 

LDS 40^181 = 

= 14 

LoganIR 8 = 26 

LDS 40-359 

= 11 

LDS 40^197 = 

= 20 

LoganIR 9= 16 

LDS 40-384 

= 4 

LDS 40^199 = 

= 42 

LoganIR 10 = 31 

LDS 40-386 

= 15 

LDS 40-504 = 

= 32 

USU 00 = 30 

LDS 40-396 

= 24 

LDS 40-506 = 

= 40 


LDS 40-398 

= 9 

LDS 40-511 = 

= 34 


Puzris-dagan Texts 

1 (LDS 40-351) S46/i/- 

(1)1 gii4 (2) kud-a pa-da (3) giri lugal-he-gal / lu-en-<nu->ga (4) mu-DU 

(rev. 5) iti mas-du-ku (6) mu ki-mas ki u / hu-ur 5 -ti ki / ba-hul 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

2 (LoganIR 3) S 47/iii/7 

(1) 1 dur (2) 2 eme 6 (3) 1 u 8 -simaski(LU.SU.A) (4) 1 mas-a-dara4 (5) 1 
munus as-gar-a-dara4 (6) 1 mas-ga-a-dara4 (7) 2 mas-du (rev. 8) 1 az (9) ba-us 
U4-7-kam (10) ki lu-dingir-ra-ta (1 1) ur-ni 9 -gar (12) su ba-ti (13) iti us-bi-kii 
(14) mu us-sa ki-mas ki / hu-ur 5 -ti ki / ba-hul 

3 (LoganIR 5) AS 1/xi/- 

(1) 1 sila4-ga (2)1 mas-ga (3) u-tu-da (4) U4-12-kam (5) d sul-gi-a-a-mu / 
i-dabs (rev. 6) iti ezem-me-ki-gal (7) mu d amar- d suen(EN./ZU) lugal (side 8) 

3 (sic!) 

4 (LDS 40-384) AS 6/xii/l 1 

(1) 1 udu-simaski(LU.SU.A) (2) 2 sila4-simaski(LU.SU.A) (3) 4 mas-ga-a- 
dara4 (4) 1 munus as-gar-ga-a-dara4 (rev. 5) ba-us U4-1 1-kam (6) ki lu-dingir-ra- 
ta (7) d sul-gi-uru-mu (8) su ba-ti (9) iti se-kin-kus (10) mu sa-as-ru ki / ba-hul 
(side 11) 7 (sic!) 

5 (LDS 40-420) AS 7/iii/23 

(1) 2 gukkal (2) U4-23-kam (3) [ki a]b-ba-sa6-ga-/ta (4) na-lus i-dabs (rev. 5) 
iti us-bi-ku (6) mu hu-uh-/nu-ri ki ba-hul 

6 (LoganIR 1) SS 21-1-1 

(1)1 gU4-niga 10 sila-ta / ki ba-ga-ga (2) a-hu-we-er (3) i-dabs (4) ki be-li-a- 
zu-/ta (rev. 5) ba-zi (6) mu d su- d suen / Iugal-uri5 ki -ma-/ke4 (7) ma-dara-abzu- 
/ d en-ki-ka bi-/in-dus (side 8) 1 gU4 

7 (LDS 40-280) SS 4/ii/- 

(1) [4 gU4]-niga (2) [9] udu-niga (3) 6 mas-gal-niga (4) 5 udu-u (5) e-ku-ba- 
tum-se (6) gestin-i-li i-dabs (7) kisib ur- d ba-ba6 (rev. 8) ki ib-ni- d suen-ta (9) 
ba-zi (10) iti ses-da-ku (11) mu d su- d suen / lugal-uris ki -ma-ke4 (12) bad-mar- 
tu mu-ri-/iq-ti-id-ni-/im mu-du (side 13) 4 gU4 20 udu 

8 (LDS 40^123) SS 4/ix/6 

(1) 1 sila4 (2) ba-us (3) U4-6-kam (4) ki be-li-li-ta (rev. 5) ilum-ku-zi-ri 
muhaldim (6) su ba-ti (7) iti ezem-mah (8) mu bad-mar-tu / ba-du (side 9) 1 

9 (LDS 40-398) SS 61-19 

(1)2 udu 2 sila4 (2) 6 udu 1 mas-gal (3) su-gid (4) 1 amar-mas-du-nita ba-us 
(5) e-muhaldim (6) mu aga-us-e-ne-se (7) d nanna-kam sukkal / maskim (rev. 
8) u 4 -10-la- 1-kam (9) ki dun-ga-ta (10) [...] (11) [...] (12) [...] (13) [mu 
ma-dara]/-abzu ba-dim (side 14) 1 1 udu 1 mas 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

10 (LDS 40-303) SS 7/viii/- 

(1) 36 mas-gal (2) sa-dun-< d >an-nu-ni-tum-/unug ki -ga-se (3) ki ur-ku-nun- 
na-ta (4) ur- d iskur sabra (rev. 5) i-dabs (6) iti ezem- d sul-gi (7) mu d su- d suen 
/ lugal-uri 5 ki -ma-ke4 (8) ma-da-za-ab-/sa-li ki / mu-hul (side 9) 36 udu 

11 (LDS 40-359) SS 8/vi/- 

(1) 1 udu-u (2) ba-us (3) mar-tu abzu(ZU.AB) ba-la<-ah> (4) sa kaskal (5) 
kisib sar-ru-um-ba-ni (rev. 6) ki in-ta-e-/ta (7) ba-zi (8) iti ezem- d nin-a-zu 
(9) mu d su- d suen / lugal-uri 5 ki -ma-ke4 (10) ma-gur 8 -mah- d en-lil-/ d nin-lil-ra 
mu-/dim (side 11)1 udu 

12 (LDS 40-248) date lost 

(1) 92 udu s[i]-d[u] (2) 3 udu su-gid didli ki ur-[. . .] (3) 20-la-l udu sa tum-al 
(4) 114 (5) sa-bi-ta (6) 30 udu hal-li kurusda (7) 20 udu dun-ga (8) 3 udu 
giri ur-mes (9) 1 udu lu-du-ii-du (10) 1 udu ur- d iskur en-bi ta[r-re] (11) 2 
mas ur-ku-zu-ga (12) 1 udu lugal-ti-ra-as-se ? (13) 3 udu ur-gar (14) 2 udu sa 
5 ur- d en-lil-la (15) [x+]80 e-se (15) [...]-x ki (remainder of obverse and all of 
reverse destroyed) (left edge 16) 61 


13 (LoganIR 2) S 37?/vi/- 

(I) 8 gis 0.0.2. (2) 2 gis 0.0.1. (3) 1 gis 1 sila (4) 28 gis sa-SIR (5) 6 gis sila (7) 5 gis 0.0.1. (8) 4 gis 0.0.4. (9) 5 gis-KU (10) 1 [gis ... ] 

(II) x [gis ... ] (rev. 12) su+nigin 62 gis-h[i-a] (13) sun-lum-bi sila 
(14) g i§ kiri 6 -lu- d nin-subur / dumu ses-kal-la (15) na-ba-sa6 (16) [s]un-lum 
nag-dun-ga (17) [iti] su-numun-na (18) [mu ba]d ma-d[a ba-du] 

14 (LDS 40-481) S 42/ix/- (or AS 6/ix/-) 

(1) 16 sa gi (2) ki lu-gi-na-ta (3) [kis]ib lugal-[...] (4) [sa] bal-a [...]-x (5) 

[iti] d l[i 9 -si4] (rev. 6) mu sa-as-ru-um ki / ba-hul 


lugal-[. . .] / dumu ur- d ba-ba6 / dub-sar 

15 (LDS 40-386) S 44/-/- 

(1) 0.3.0. Se-ba gu-du-du asgab (2) 1.0.0. gur a-du (3) 1.0.0. gur d sara-i-zu 

(4) ma-lah 5 / zi4cu-um-ma (5) giri hu-wa-wa (6) 1.0.0. gur lu-dingir-ra (7) 

[gir]i i4cu-UD-D[U'-?] (8 rev.) [m]u a-bal-a-s[e] (9) ki gu-du-du-ta (10) kisib 

lu- d nanna (11) mu si-mu-ru-um ki / ba-hul 


lu- d sara / dub-sar / dumu la-ni-mu 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

16 (LoganIR 9) S 45/vi/- 

(1) [sila] / sun-lum [gur] (2) g i§ kiri 6 -u-ma-ni / dub-sar (3) ur-en-e 

i-dabs (4) iti su-numun (rev. 5) mu us-sa si-mu-/ru-um ki lu-lu-bu ki 


ur-ei i-/e / dumu ur-[ni 9 ?-gar?] 

17 (LDS 40-467) S 46/vii/-, Lagas 

(1) 1.0.0. se gur-lugal (2) ki ur- d ba-ba6-ta (3) d ba-ba6-uU-gal (4) su ba-ti (rev. 

5) iti ezem- d sul-gi (6) mu ki-mas ki / ba-hul 



18 (LDS 40-283) S 48/xi/-, Lagas 

(1) 1 tug al-la-/ d sul-g[i] (2) 1 tug gis-DINGIR-zu'(BA) sagi (3) 1 tug X X 
(rev. 4) tug mu-DU (5) iti se-kin-kus (6) mu ha-ar-§i ki ki-/mas ki ba-hul 

19 (LDS 40^142) S 48/xii/- 

(1) 4.0.0. dug-sigs gur / lugal-ra us-sa (2) ki [l]us-lu5-ta (3) kisib su- d samas 

(4) iti se-kin-ku5 (rev.5) mu h[ar-si]/ ki ba-hul 


su- d samas / arad- d en-lil 

20 (LDS 40-497) AS 31-1- 

(1) 6 kus-udu (2) sa-gU4 kaskal-se gub (3) su ba-ab-ti (4) ki ur-en-e-/ta (rev. 

5) kisib lii-dingir-ra / dumu lugal-ka ? (6) SEAL (7) mu s is gu-za / d en-lil-la 



lu-dingir-[ra] / dumu lu[gal-KA] 

21 (LoganIR 7) AS 5/iii-iv/- 

(1) 32 2/3 sar al-l/3-ta (2) e a-sa- d nin-ur 4 -ra / u sa-ra-hu-um-ma (3) 122 gurus 

U4-l-se (4) i 7 -sai4-la u e-SIG7 / ban-da gub-ba (5) ugula ur-mes (rev. 6) kisib 

da-a-gi (7) iti se-kar-<ra->gal-la / u iti MURUB 4 (8) mu en-umi6-gal-/ d inanna 



da-a-gi / dub-sar / dumu [. . .] 

22 (LDS 40-436) AS 5/i/- 

(1) 10 gurus U4-3-se (2) kun-zi-da (3) ka kun-x-a-ta (4) ugula ur-mes (5) kisib 

lugal-iti-da (rev. 6) SEAL (7) iti se-kin-kus (8) mu us-sa en-mah-gal-/an-na 

en- d nanna ba-hun 


lugal-iti-da / nu-banda-gu 4 / [dumu giri-ne] 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

23 (LDS 454) AS 61x1- 

(1) 1 uz ba-us (2) ki lugal-an-zu-ta (3) kisib lu-kal-la (4) iti MUR[UB 4 ] (5) 

mu us-sa en-[TE]./AB-gal- d inan[na ba-hun] (rev. 6) uninscribed 


lu-kal-la / dub-sar / dumu ur-ei i-e ku§7 

24 (LDS 40-396) AS 7/vii/- 

(1) 600+180+23 geme-/us-bar [m-xj-se (2) ki-surai2 [sah]ar-u-u ki-/su7- 

ra-kam-saU-la us-gid-da (3) u su-nu-un ka / e-a-se se zi-ga (rev. 4) ugula 

ses-SIGs (5) kisib lugal-ku-zu (6) SEAL (7) iti ezem- d sul-gi (8) mu hu-uh- 

nu-riA 1 ba-hul 


lugal-ku-zu / dub-sar / dumu ur-nig-gar ku§7 

25 (LDS 40-298) SS 2/vi/- 

(I) 7 sila esa (2) 6 1/3 sila dabin (3) e-gal [...] (4) giri lugal-[...] (5) 0.0.1. 
zi e-ta (6) ur-lugal-ke4 (7) su ba-ti (rev. 8) giri lugal-mes (9) 9. 0.1.3. zi-gu 
giri mu-ni / ur-s i§ gigir lu-za-ka-x / kisib-ba DINGIR-[. . .] (10) iti su-numu[n] 

(I I) mu us-sa s[i-ma]-/num ki ba-h[ul] 


(1) [. . .] (2) [. . .] x ba-/zi (3) iti se-kin-ku 5 -ta (4) u 4 -20-zal-la-ta (5) iti d dumu- 

zi-se (rev. 6) ki lu-dingir-ra-ta (7) a-gu i-dabs (8) [m]u [b]ad mar-[tu] / [ba-du] 


a-gu /dub-sar /dumu lugal-e-mah-[e] 


(1) 10 gin ku-babbar (2) e-gal-e-si (3) su+nigin 1 1/3 ma-na / ku-babbar 
(4) sam ku-/hus-a 5 gin-se (5) e-gal-la ku 4 -ra (rev. 6) [.../...] (7) [x-x-u]s- 
kal-la (8) [s]a ku§ <duio->gan lugal-/sa-la-ta (9) 1 ma-na ku-babbar (10) sa 
ku5 <duio->gan gu-la-/ta (side 11) mu na ba-du 

28 (LDS 40-263) IS 3,1-1- 

(1) 7.0.0. s i§ pes durus gur ur- d e-an-na (2) 1.0.0. gur lu- d nin-subur / dumu 
ur-nu-UH (3) g is kiri 6 -nag-su ki (4) 2.0.0. gur lugal-ma-gur 8 -re (5) s i§ kiri 6 -ka- 
iy-gisgi-gal (6) 1.3.0. ur- d sul-pa-e (7) [g i5 ]kiri 6 -ka-i7-da (lower half of obverse 
lost) (rev. [upper half of reverse lost] 7) mu d i-[bi- d sue]n / lugal-e uri 5 ki -ma- 
/ke 4 si-mu-ru-um ki mu-hul 

29 (LDS 40^145) [date lost] 

(1) [5 sila kas-sigs 5 sila ninda 5 sila sum] (2) [x gin i x gin na]ga (3) da-a-a 
(4) 5 sila [kas-sigs] 5 sila ninda 5 sila sum (5) [x gin i x] gin naga (6) [...]- 
NE-[x ? ] (6) [5] sila kas-sigs 5 sila ninda [5 sila sum] (7) [2] gin i 2 gin [na]ga 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

(8) [a]- hu-a [x] (9) [5] sila kas 5 sila ninda 5 g[in sum] (10) [2] gin i 2 gin 
naga (11) i-ti-num (13) [5] sila kas 5 sila ninda 5 gin <sum> (14) [2] gin i 2 
gin naga (15) [....] (16) [ 5 sila kas 5 sila ninda 5 gin <sum>] (rev. 17) [5 sila 
kas 5 sila ninda 5 gin<sum>] (18) [2] gin i 2 gin naga (19) [x]-ab(20) [5] sila 
kas 5 sila ninda 5 gin <sum> (21) [2] gin i 2 gin naga (22) [s]u-ma-ma (23) 
5 sila kas 5 sila ninda 5 gin <sum> (24) [2 gi]n i 2 gin naga (25) [x]-x-a (26) 
[5 sila kas 5 sila ninda 5 gi]n <sum> (27) [2 gin i 2] gin naga (28) [x]-kal-la 
(29) [su+nigin O.O.x.x] sila kas-sigs sila kas (30) [su+nigin O.O.n.n] 
sila ninda 1 ? sila 5 gin sum (31) [su+nigin x] gin i (32) [su+nigin x gin] naga 

Miscellaneous Texts 

30 (USU 00) Gudea Nail (15 cm, tip broken) [Edzard, RIME 3/] 

(1 .) d nin-gis-zi-/da (2) dingir-ra-ni (3) gu-de-a (4) ensi (5) lagas ki (6) ur-/ d ga- 
tum-duio-ge (7) e-gir-su ki -ka-/ni (8) mu-na-du 

31 (LoganIR 10) Sin-Kasid Cone (5.5 cm) [Frayne, RIME] 

(1) d sin-ga-si-id (2) nita-kala-ga (3) lugal-unug ki -ga (4) lugal-am-na-nu-um 
(5) u-a e-an-na (6) e-gal (7) nam-lugal-la-ka-ni (8) mu-du 

32 (LDS 40-504) Sin-Kasid Cone (6.3 cm) [Frayne, RIME] 

(1) d sin-ga-si-id (2) nita-kala-ga (3) lugal-unug ki -ga (4) lugal-am-na-nu-um 
(5) u-a (6) e-an-na (7) e-gal (8) nam-lugal-la-ka-ni (9) mu-du 

33 (LDS 40-722) Sin-Kasid Cone (5.7 cm) [Frayne, RIME] 

(1) d sin-ga-si-id (2) nita-kala-ga (3) lugal-unug ki -ga (4) lugal-am-na-nu-um 
(5) u-a e-an-na (6) U4 e-an-na (7) mu-du-a (8) e-gal (9) nam-lugal-la-ka-ni 
(10) mu-du 

34 (LDS 40-511) Sin-Kasid Model Tablet [Frayne, RIME] 

(1) d suen-ga-si-id (2) nita-kala-ga (3) lugal-unug ki -ga (4) lugal-am-na-nu-um 
(5) e-gal (6) nam-lugal-la-ka-/ni (rev. 7) mu-du 

35 (LoganIR 6) Old Babylonian 

(1)1 gin ku-babba[r] (2) d sa-du-nim-m[a] (3) KA ? -e-ri-a (4) a-sa ia-ku-ub- 
ilum (5) sam-til-la-bi (6) 2 gin ku-babbar (7) in-na-an-la (8) ki ia-ku-ub-ilum 

(9) m si-ma-at-ku-bi / gudu4-< d >nanna (10) dumu si-la-li-tum (rev. 11) in- 
si-sam (12) x-tum nu ma-x-x (13) U4 pap-se lu-lu-[x] / nu-um-ga-ga-[de] 
(14) mu-lugal-bi in-p[a] (15) igi ga-an-ga-nu-um / ha-za-an-nu-um (16) igi 
d suen-se-me-x-x / dumu na-ap-li-[x] (17) igi hi-li-x-[...] / dumu be-li-[...] 
(18) igi d x[. . .] (19) iti kin- d i[nanna] (20) mu-us-sa x-[. . .]-/mi-[. . .] 



D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

37 (LDS 40-513) Old Babylonian 

(1) 0.4.0. se-ba gur (2) kun-gi-na ba-[x] (3) ki d samas-li-[. . .] (4) d en-lil-ba-ni 

(5) su ba-an-ti (6) iti x-a (rev. mostly destroyed) 

43 (USU 15 A3) Neo-Babylonian Brick Fragment (unidentified) 

] KA-il- [ 

-z]i-da [ 

-r]i-du [ 


Indexes of Ur III Texts 



mu a-bal-a-se, 15 
abzu ? 

mar-tu abzu(ZU.AB) ba-la<-ah>, 1 1 

mu aga-us-e-ne-se, 9 

amar-mas-du-nita, 9 

anse-nita (dur 6 ), 2 

anse-munus (eme), 2 
arad, 19 
a-sa, 2 1 
asgab, 15 

munus as-gar-a-dara4, 2, 4 
az, 2 

sabal-a, 15 
dab 5 

i-dab 5 , 3, 5, 7, 10, 16, 26 
dabin, 25 

mu-DU, 2, 18 

sa-gU4 kaskal-se DU, 20 
du 8 

du 8 -sig 5 , 3 
kus<du 10 ->gan, 27 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

a-gu dub-sar dumu lugal-e-mah-e, 26 seal 

da-a-gi dub-sar dumu [...], 21 seal 

lugal-ku-zu dub-sar dumu ur-mVgar ku§7, 24 seal 

lu-kal-la dub-sar dumu ur-en-e ku§7, 23 seal 

g i§ kiri 6 -u-ma-ni dub-sar, 16 
dur 6 , 2 (anse-nita) 

s i§ pes duru 5 , 28 

e-a-se, 25 

e-ku-ba-tum-se, 7 

e-se, 12 

e-ta, 25 

e-gal, 25 

e-gal-la ku4-ra, 27 

e-muhaldim, 9 
erne, 2 (anse-munus) 

giri lugal-he-gal lu-en-<nu->ga, 1 

en-bi ta[r-re], 12 
esa, 25 


mas-ga, 3 

mas-ga-a-dara4, 2, 4 

ki-ba ga-ga, 6 

geme-us-bar, 24 
gi, 15 
gin, 27, 29 

[gir]ii-ku-UD.D[U ? ], 15 

giri hu-wa-wa, 15 


giri lugal-he-gal lu-en-ga, 1 

giri lugal-mes, 25 

giriur-mes, 12 

gis, 13 

gis-h[i-a], 13 



D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 
gis-sa-SIR, 13 


gU4, 6, 7 

gu 4 -niga, 6, 7 

gii4 ? -kaskal-se gub, 20 

lugal-iti-da nu-ban-da-gU4 [dumu giri-ne], 22 seal 

SIG7-ban-da gub-ba, 21 

sa-gU4 kaskal-se gub, 20 
gurus, 21, 22 
gukkal, 5 

sa-gU4 kaskal-se DU, 20 

sa kaskal, 1 1 
g i§ kiri 6 

g i§ kiri 6 -lu- d nin-subur dumu ses-kal-la, 13 

g i§ kiri 6 -u-ma-ni dub-sar, 16 

ki-surai2-[sah]ar-u-u ki-su7-ra-kam-sal4-la us-gid-da, 25 

kisib-ba, 25 

kisib da-a-gi, 21 

kisib lii-dingir-ra dumu lugal-ka ? , 20 

kisib lugal-iti-da, 22 

kisib lugal-ku-zu, 24 

kisib lu-kal-la, 23 

kisib lu- d nanna, 15 

kisib su- d samas, 19 

kisib sar-ru-um-ba-ni, 1 1 

kisib ur- d ba-ba6, 7 
ku-babbar, 27 
ku-hus-a, 27 

ku4-ra, 27 
ku 5 (d) 

kud-a pa-da, 1 
kun-zi-da, 22 

hal-li kurusda, 12 

kuS <duio->gan, 27 

kus-udu, 4 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

lu-kal-la dub-sar dumu ur-en-e ku§7, 23 (seal) 
lah 5/6 

ba-la<-ah>, 1 1 
ma-lah 5 

ma-lah 5 zi-ku-um-ma, 15 

mar-tu abzu(ZU.AB) ba-la<-ah>, 1 1 

amar-mas-du-nita, 9 

mas-a-dara4, 2 

mas-du, 2 

mas-ga, 3 

mas-ga-a-dara4, 2, 4 

mas-gal, 9, 10 

mas-gal-niga, 7 

d nanna-kam sukkal maskim, 9 

ilum-ku-zi-ri muhaldim, 8 

e-muhaldim, 9 

gu 4 -niga, 6, 7 

udu-niga, 7 

kud-a pa-da, 1 

s» s pes duru 5 , 28 

sa-dui i- d an-nu-ni-tum-unug ki -ga-se, 1 

gis-DINGIR-zu'(BA) sagi, 18 

[sah]ar-u-u, 24 
sar, 21 
SIG 7 

SIG7-ban-da gub-ba, 2 1 

sila4, 8, 9 

sila4-ga, 3 

sila4-simaski(LU.SU.A), 4 

su-gan-gu-la, 27 

su-gan-lugal-sa-la, 27 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

sun-lum, 13, 16 

d nanna-kam sukkal maskim, 9 
sa-bi-ta, 12 
sa-gu 4 

sa-gU4 kaskal-se DU, 20 

ur- d iskur sabra, 10 
sam, 27 
se, 17, 25 
su-gid, 9, 12 
su-nu-un-ka, 25 

su ba-ti, 2, 4, 8, 17,25 

su ba-ab-ti, 20 

en-bi ta[r-re], 12 

u-ru-da, 3 
tug, 18 

[sah]ar-u-u, 24 


u 8 -simaski(LU.SU.A), 2 
udu, 7, 9, 10,11,12 

kus-udu, 4 

udu-niga, 7 

udu-simaski(LU.SU.A), 4 

udu-ii, 7, 1 1 

ugula ses-SIG5 

ugula ur-me, 22 

geme-us-bar, 24 

ba-us, 2, 23, 4, 8, 9, 11 
uz, 23 

ba-zi, 6,1, 11, 26 

zi-ga, 24 
zi, 25 
zi-gu, 25 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

mar-tu abzu(ZU.AB) ba-la<-ah>, 1 1 

Personal Names 

a-du, 15 

a-gu, 26 

a-gu s. lugal-e-mah-e, 26 seal (dub-sar) 

a-hu-we-er, 6 

al-la- d sul-gi, 18 

d ba-ba6-ul4-gal, 17 

ba-ga-ga, 6 

be-li-a-zu, 6 

be-li-i-li, 8 

da-a-gi, 21 seal (dub-sar) 

dun-ga, 12 

e-gal-e-si, 27 

gestin-i-H, 7 

giri-ne f. lugal-iti-da, 22 seal 

gis-DINGIR-zu'(BA), 18 (sagi) 

gu-du-du, 15 (asgab) 

hal-li, 12 (kurusda) 

hu-wa-wa, 15 

ib-ni- d suen, 7 

i-ku-UD.D[U ? ], 15 ([gir]i) 

ilum-ku-zi-ri, 8 (muhaldim) 

in-ta-e-a, 11 

lu-dingir-ra, 2, 4, 15, 26 

lu-dingir-ra s. lugal-KA, 20 (kisib), 20 seal 

lu-du-u-du, 12 

lugal-[...], 14([kis]ib) 


lugal-[...] s. ur- d ba-ba6, 14 seal (dub-sar) 

lugal-an-zu, 23 

lugal-e-mah-e f. a-gu, 26 seal 

lugal-he-gal, 1 (giri, lu-en-<nu->ga) 

lugal-iti-da, 22 (kisib) 

lugal-iti-da s. [giri-ne], 24 seal (nu-ban-da-guzj) 

lugal-ku-zu, 24 (kisib) 

lugal-ku-zu s. ur-ni 9 -gar, 24 seal (dub-sar) 

lugal-ma-gurg-re, 28 

lugal-mes, 25 (giri) 

lugal-sa-la, 27 

lugal-ti-ra-as-se ? , 12 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

lu-gi-na, 14 

lu-kal-la, 23 (kisib) 

lu-kal-la dub-sar s. ur-en-e, 23 

lu- d nanna, 15 (kisib) 

lu- d nin-subur s. ses-kal-la, 13 (s i§ kiri 6 -) 

lu- d nin-subur s. ur-nu-UH, 28 

mar-tu, 11 

mu-ni, 25 (giri) 

na-ba-sa6, 13 

na-lus, 19, 6 

si-du, 12 

sar-ru-um-ba-ni, 11 (kisib) 

d sara-i-zu, 15 

ses-kal-la f. lu- d nin-subur, 13 

ses-SIG5, 24 (ugula) 

d sul-gi-a-a-mu, 3 

d sul-gi-uru-mu, 4 

su- d samas, 19 (kisib) 

u-ma-ni, 16 (dub-sar) 

ur-[...], 12 

ur- d ba-ba6, 7 (kisib), 17 

ur- d ba-ba6 f. lugal-[...], 14 seal 

ur-ba-sa6-ga, 6 

ur- d e-an-na, 28 

ur-en-e, 16, 20 

ur-en-e f. lu-kal-la, 23 

ur- d en-lil-la, 12 

ur-gar, 12 

ur-s i§ gigir, 25 (lu-za-ka-x) 

ur- d iskur, 10 (sabra), 12 

ur-ku-nun-na, 10 


ur-lugal, 25 

ur-mes, 12 (giri), 22 (ugula) 

ur-nig-gar, 2 

ur-ni 9 -gar f. lugal-ku-zu, 24 seal (ku§7) 

ur-nu-UH f. lu- d nin-subur, 28 

ur- d sul-pa-e, 28 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

Seal Inscriptions 

a-gu / dub-sar / dumu lugal-e-mah-[e], 26 (= Mayr 47a) 5 

da-a-gi / dub-sar / dumu [blank], 21 (= Mayr 128a) 

lu-dingir-[ra] / dumu lu[gal-KA], 20 

lu-kal-la / dub-sar / dumu ur-ei i-e ku§7, 23 (= Mayr 421a) 

lugal-[. . .] / dumu ur- d ba-ba6 / dub-sar, 14 

lugal-iti-da / nu-banda-gU4 / [dumu giri-ne], 22 (= Mayr 580b) 

lugal-ku-zu / dub-sar / dumu ur-ni 9 -gar ku§7, 24 (= Mayr 593b) 

lu- d sara / dub-sar / dumu la-ni-mu, 15 (= Mayr 478a) 

su- d samas / arad- d en-lil, 19 (= Mayr 813) 

ur-en-/e / dumu ur-[ni 9 ? -gar ? ], 16 

Divine Names 

< d >an-nu-ni-tum-unug ki , 10 

Buildings and Temples 

e-gal, 8, 27, 25 
e-ku-ba-tum, 27 
e-muhaldim, 9 

Fields Gardens and Threshing Floors 

a-sa- d nin-ur 4 -ra, 21 (= UNL no. 658) 

<a-sa->sa-ra-hu-um-ma, 21 (= UNL no. 751) 

gi § kiri 6 -ka-i 7 -da, 28 

gi § kiri6-ka-i 7 -g i§ gi-gal, 28 

g i§ kiri6-lu- d nin-subur dumu ses-kal-la, 1 3 

g i§ kiri 6 -nag-su ki 

g i§ kiri 6 -u-ma-ni dub-sar, 16 

ki-surai2-[sah]ar-u-u ki-su-ra-kam-saU-la us-gid-da, 24 (= UNL 254, no. 16) 

Toponyms and Canals 

abzu ? , 11 
iysaLt-la, 21 
nag-dun-ga, 13 

5 Seals cited according to the forthcoming, Rudolf H. Mayr, Seal Impressions on Tablets from 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

tum-al, 12 
< d >an-nu-ni-tum-unug ki , 10 

Month Names 

d dumu-zi, 26 

ezem-mah, 8 

ezem-me-ki-gal, 3 

ezem- d nin-a-zu, 11 

ezem- d sul-gi, 10, 18,24 

d li 9 -si 4 , 14 

mas-du-ku, 1 

MURUB 4 ,20,21 

se-kin-ku 5 , 6 19,4,22 

se-kar-<ra->gal-la, 21 

ses-da-ku, 7 

su-numun-na, 13, 16 (su-numun), 25 

us-bi-ku, 2, 6 

Year Names 


[mu ba]d ma-d[a ba-du], 13 


mu sa-as-ru-um ki ba-hul, 14 


mu si-mu-ru-um ki ba-hul, 15 


mu us-sa si-mu-ru-um ki lu-lu-bu ki , 16 


mu ki-mas ki ba-hul, 17 

mu ki-mas ki u hu-ur 5 -ti ki ba-hul, 1 

6 On the reading of the month name se-kin-ku5 and not se-gurio-kii5, see the OB syllabic writ- 
ing, se-GIN-kus, noted by G. Beckman, Old Babylonian Archival Texts in the Yale Babylonian 
Collection (CBCY 4; Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 2000) 204, YBC 12296 and G. Beckman, 
"Month XII," NABU 2000/46. 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 


mu us-sa ki-mas ki hu-mur-ti ki ba-hul, 2 


mu h[ar-si] ki ba-hul, 19 

mu ha-ar-si ki ki-mas ki ba-hul, 1 8 

AS 1 

mu d amar- d suen lugal, 3 

AS 3 

mu s i§ gu-za d en-lil-la ba-dim, 20 

AS 5 

mu us-sa en-mah-gal-an-na en- d nanna ba-hun, 22 

mu en-unu6-gal- d inanna ba-hun, 2 1 

AS 6 

mu us-sa en-[TE] AB-gal- d inan[na ba-hun], 23 

mu sa-as-ru ki ba-hul, 4 

AS 7 

mu hu-uh-nu-ri ki ba-hul, 5, 24 


mu us-sa s[i-ma]-num ki ba-h[ul], 25 

mu d su- d suen lugal-uri 5 ki -ma-ke4 ma-dara-abzu- d en-ki-ka bi-in-dug, 6 


mu bad-mar-tu / ba-du, 8, 26 

mu d su- d suen lugal-uri 5 ki -ma-ke4 bad-mar-tu mu-ri-iq-ti-id-ni-im mu-du, 7 


[mu ma-dara]-abzu ba-dim, 9 

mu na ba-du, 27 


mu d su- d suen lugal-uri 5 ki -ma-ke4 ma-da-za-ab-sa-li ki mu-hul, 10 


ma-gur8-mah- d en-lil- d nin-lil-ra mu-dim, 1 1 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

IS 3 

mu d i-[bi- d suen] lugal-e uri 5 ki -ma-ke4 si-mu-ru-um ki mu-hul, 28 

Date lost, 12 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

1(LDS 40-351) 



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3 (LoganIR 5) 


2 (LoganIR 3) 





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4 (LDS 40-384) 


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5 (LDS 40-420) 

6 (LoganIR 1) 




Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

7 (LDS 40-280) 

8 (LDS 40-423) 

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9 (LDS 40-398) 


il^§P2IE3r w 



D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

10 (LDS 40-303) 





^f^J 11 (LDS 40-359) 



Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

12 (LDS 40-248) 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

13 (LoganIR 2) 

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r rr 



Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

14 (LDS 40-481) 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

15 (LDS 40-386) 




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Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

16 (LoganIR 9) 


17 (LDS 40-467) 





D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

18 (LDS 40-283) 




Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

19 (LDS 40-442) 

20 (LDS 40-497) 

Mr s^ 


D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

21 (LoganIR 7) 

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Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

22 (LDS 40-436) 

23 (LDS 40-454) 




D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

24 (LDS 40-396) 

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Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

25 (LDS 40-298) 

0H JU 


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D. I. Owen and E. Wasilewska 

26 (LoganIR 8) 

27 (LoganIR 4) 


Cuneiform Texts in Utah Collections 

28 (LDS 40-263) 




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35 (LoganIR 6) 




J. Polonsky 

In 1985 R. Borger published an edition of a first millennium bilingual prayer 
to the Mesopotamian solar deity (Utu/Samas) for a woman having difficulty 
in childbirth. 1 This text commences with an introduction of the deity that 
identifies the sun god, his familial associations, his relationship with the city 
of Sippar as well as with the Ebabbar temple, and his role as illuminator 
(lines 1-10): 

en d utu dumu an-na- r ke4 n [...] 

d UTU DUMU d a-nim e-t[el ...] 
d utu ibila zalag2 an-ki-bi-[da-ke4 ...] 

d UTU ap-lu mus-na-mir [. . .] 2 
pes-tur-zi d suen-na d ni[n-gal-la-ke4] 

llb-llb-bi sd d 30 u d ni[n-gal] 
en sippar ki an-dul r e-babbar"'-[ra-ke4] 

EN sip-par su-lul E. r BABBAR n .R[A] 
ki-ag d a-a e-gi4-a ki-tus an-ku-ga 

na-ram d MIN 3 kal-lat a-si-bat AN-e KUMES 

Incantation: Samas, son of An, pr[ince ...], 

Samas, firstborn son, he who illuminates heaven and earth, 

Offspring of Sin and Ningal, 

Lord of Sippar, protection of the Ebabbar, 

Beloved of Aia, bride who dwells in sacred heaven. 

The invocation continues with a direct appeal to the deity as he emerges at 
sunrise. This section of the text describes the territory of sunrise, 4 indicates 

1 See R. Borger, "Einige Texte religiosen Inhalts," ONS 54 (1985) 14-8. In addition, see 
Theophile J. Meek, "Cuneiform Bilingual Hymns," BA 10/1 (1913) 1-5, 65-71, with Friedrich 
Delitzsch, "Bemerkungen zu Prof. Meek's zweisprachigen Fragmenten," BA 10/1 (1913) 
130—1; P. Anastasius Schollmeyer, Sumerisch-babylonische Hymnen und Gebete an Samas 
(Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh, 1912) 66-70 (nos. 10-11), 108-9 (no. 23); Marie-Joseph 
Seux, Hymnes et prieres aux dieux de Babylonie et d'Assyrie (Paris: 1976) 216—7; see also 
M. Stol, Birth in Babylonia and the Bible: Its Mediterranean Setting (CM 14; Groningen: Styx, 
2000) 133-4. 

2 Delitzsch, "Bemerkungen" 130, suggests mus-na-mir [same irsitim]. 

3 Variant: d a-a. 

4 See J. Polonsky, "ki- d utu-e-a: Where Destiny is Determined" in CRRAI 44/3 (2000) 89-100; 
"The Rise of the Sun God and the Determination of Destiny in Ancient Mesopotamia" (Ph.D. 
diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2002) 268-333. 


J. Polonsky 

the duties of lesser divinities within the court of the sun god and emphasizes 
the role of the solar deity as judge of the land of Mesopotamia and its 
people at sunrise (lines 1 1-26, marked by a transfer from third to second 

d utu an-sa-ku-ga-ta e-ti(-a)-zu-de 

d UTU ul-tu AN-e KU.MES ina a-se-ka 
kur-ha-sur-ra-ta bal-de-zu-de 

sd-du-u ha-sur ina na-bal-kut-ti-ka 
[ d ] r pap~ , -n[u]n-na sukkal sa-hiil-la-zu-se (silim) dun-ga-ab 

[ d b]u-ne-ne suk-kal-li hu-ud lib-bi-ka liq-bi 
[nig-zi]-da a-zi-da-zu 5 al-gub-bu 6 

kit-tu 1 li-iz-ziz ina im-ni-ka 
nig-si-sa a-gab-bu-zu al-gub-ba 

mi-sa-ri li-iz-ziz ina su-me-li-ka 

a-sd-rid ma-ta-ta at-ta 
di-kii5-mah kur-igi-nim kur-igi-sig he-em-ma-an-si-sa-e-de 

da-a-a-nu se-ru sd ma-a-tu e-lit u sap-lit us-te-si-ri H 
d utu di-ku5-mah [a]- r a"' sag-gi6-ga 

d UTU da-a-a-nu s [i-(i-)r]u a-bi sal-mat qa-qa-du 

At your rising, Samas, from the interior of sacred heaven, 9 

When you cross Hasur-mountain, 

May Papnuna (Bunene) the vizier, speak favorably for the happiness of your 


May truth stand at your right. 

May justice stand at your left. 

You are foremost in the land 

Exalted judge, who sets in order the upper and lower lands, 

Samas, exalted judge, father of the black-headed people. 

The next portion of the text contains prayers to ease the condition of the 
woman in labor, to elicit a safe birth, and to promote the continued health of 
the mother and child (lines 27-46): 

munus-bi [...] r x n [dumu-munus-digir]-ra-na 

sin-nis-tum s[i-i ...] mar-ti DIGIR-sw 
ka-kesda-bi igi digir-'zu" 1 du8-[u-d]a 

[ki-s]ir SA-sd ina ma-har DIGlK-u-ti-ka lip-pa-tir 10 

5 Variant: [a]-zi-da-gUio. 

6 Variant: al-gub-b[a]. 

7 Variant: [kit-t]i-i. 

8 Variant: us-te-si-ri at-ta. 

9 The Akkadian renders: "from sacred heaven." 

10 For the reading and interpretation of this line see CAD K s.v. kisru, lexical section. 


The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth 

munus-bi silim-ma ii-tu-ud-da 

sin-nis-tu si-i sal-mes li-lid 
ii-tu-ud-da ti-la sa-bi silim-ma 

li-lid-ma lib-lut sd lib-bi-su li-sir 
igi-digir-zu silim-ma he-en-DU.DU 

ina ma-har DlGlK(-u)-ti-ka sal-mes lit-tal-lak 
silim-ma u-tu-ud-da ka-tar-zu he(-en)-si-il(-la) 

sal-mes li-lid-ma dd-li-li-ka lid-lul 
usn-z[u] nig-hul-dim-ma igi-digir-zu he-en-bur-re 11 

kis-[pi] up-sd-su-u ina ma-har DIGIR-ti-ka lip-pa-ds-ru 
ma-m[u]-gin7 he-en-biir-re 12 

r zu n -lu[m-m]a-giri7 he-en-bar-ra 13 

[klma suluppT liq-q\a- r lip l 
munus-[bi] he-en-ti-la : MUNUS si-i lib-lut 

That woman, daughter of her god, 

May her knot 14 be opened before your divinity. 

That woman, may she give birth safely. 

May she give birth, may she live, may her offspring 15 thrive. 

May she continue to go in health before your divinity. 

May she give birth safely, and may she proclaim your praise. 

May sorcery and bewitchment be dispelled before your divinity. 

Like a dream, let it be resolved. 

Like dates, let it be stripped off. 

May that woman live. 

The final lines of the text presuppose a favorable outcome, a positive response 
from the sun god to the prayer recited before him (lines 47-52): 

en-e ud-da ab-ti-la nam-mah-zu he-ib-be 

a-di r ii4 1 -mu bal-ta-tu nar-bi-ka liq-bi 
nam-mah rd en-ki n d asar-lii-hi ug-bi he-en-zu-zug 

nar-be [d] r e?" , -a? u d AMAR.UTU UG.MES lil «-KUR»-tan-du l( > 
u ga lu-KA-[i]nim-ma ir-zu ka-tar-zu he-si-il 

u ana-ku a-si-pi IK-ka dd-li-li-ka lud-lul 

11 Variant: r he-en 1 -bur-ra. 

12 For the reading of this line, see PSD B s.v. bur E, bilingual meaning 3. However, see 
Borger's reading and understanding of this line in "Einige Texte religiosen Innate" 17, 41: 
su-SA[R]-gim he-en-bur-re, "May it be unraveled like this matting," and its relation, along 
with the subsequent line, to Surpu V-VI 52-5, Erica Reiner, Surpu: A Collection of Sumerian 
and Akkadian Incantations (AfO Beih. 11: Graz: Ernst Weidner, 1958) 31. 

13 For the reading of this line, see PSD B s.v. bar, meaning 9. See also CAD S s.v. suluppu, 
meaning f, for similar statements in ritual texts. 

14 The Akkadian renders: "knot of her womb." 

15 Literally, "that of her womb." 

16 For commentary on the reading of this line, see Borger, "Einige Texte religiosen Inhalts" 18. 


J. Polonsky 

As long as she lives, she shall proclaim your greatness. 

Let the people make known the greatness of Enki and Asarluhi. 

And I, the asipu-priest, your servant, shall proclaim your glory. 

At this juncture, the participants in the ritual invocation — the afflicted wom- 
an, who is the subject of the composition, and the incantation priest, who 
recites the prayer — pay homage to the sun god, as well as to the healing 
deities Enki (Ea) and Asarluhi (Marduk) for the safe delivery of the child 
and the well-being of the mother. 

The appearance of Enki and Asarluhi in this text, the divine father and 
son who are invoked as a healing pair in incantations seeking medicinal 
succor, has precedent and is expected. 17 However, the presence of the sun 
god — the principal deity of justice, divination, and the source of light — as 
the primary addressee in a composition concerned with childbirth and a 
difficult labor, requires explanation. This incantation places the well-being 
of the birthing mother and her child in the hands of the sun god at the moment 
of his rise. As he emerges from the inner realm of heaven and appears over 
Mount Hasur, the mountain of sunrise, 18 the sun god executes judgment 
for the determination of destiny within the daily convocation of the divine 
assembly 19 The prayers for the birth-giving mother are dispatched within 
this milieu of sunrise fate determination. This article, dedicated to Professor 
Erie Leichty with gratitude from his student, seeks to demonstrate the links 
between sunrise fate determination and birth in Mesopotamian literature. 

It will be argued here that the bilingual childbirth incantation addressed 
to the sun god and, in particular, to the rising sun god illustrates the 
convergence of beliefs concerning fate determination, sunrise, and birth 
in ancient Mesopotamia. To that end, evidence for the association between 
birth, the sun god, sunrise, and the decree of destiny will be extracted from 
other birth incantations and diverse Sumerian and Akkadian language texts 

17 See Adam Falkenstein, Die Haupttypen der sumerischen Beschworung literarisch untersucht 
(LSS NF 1; Leipzig: J.C. Ftinrichs, 1931) 53-8; Graham Cunningham, "Deliver Me From 
Evil": Mesopotamian Incantations 2500-1500 BC (Studia Pohl, Series Maior, 17; Rome: 
Biblical Institute Press, 1997) 76-7, 1 14-5, 120-1. Examples of birth incantations that invoke 
this healing pair include E 47.190, Gertrud Farber, "Another Old Babylonian Childbirth 
Incantation," JNES 43 (1984) 311-6; UM 29-15-367 and John Rylands Library, Box 24 E 
6 + 24, J. vanDijk, "Incantations accompagnant la naissance de rhomme," OrNS44(1975) 53- 
62, 69-70; YBC 4603, J. van Dijk, "Une incantation accompagnant la naissance de rhomme," 
ONS 42 (1973) 502-7; AUAM 73.3094, Mark E. Cohen, "Literary Texts from the Andrews 
University Archaeological Museum," RA 70 (1976) 133^10; with parallel MLC 1207, vanDijk, 
"Incantations" 65-9; BAM 248 (and dups.), Erich Ebeling, "Keilschrifttexte medizinischen 
Inhalts iy Archiv fur Geschichte der Medizin 14 (1923) 65-78; N. Veldhuis, "The New 
Assyrian Compendium for a Woman in Childbirth," ASJ 1 1 (1988) 241-8. 

18 See discussion in Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 306-27. 

19 This connection between sunrise and judgment by the sun god at fate determination within 
the divine assembly is expressed in numerous texts, see Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 


The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth 

in order to investigate the foundation of the beliefs concerning childbirth in 
ancient Mesopotamia. 

Already during the Old Babylonian period a connection is made between 
the pregnant woman and the sun god in a childbirth incantation: 

ar-hu-um e-ri-a-at ar-hu-um ul-la-ad i-na ta-ar-ba-si-im sa d UTU su-pu-u-ur 
d SENBAR 2 ° 

The pregnant cow, the cow giving birth in the cattlepen of Samas, in the fold of 

The woman, or the "pregnant cow," is envisioned within the territory of the 
sun god and the solar deity is an object of appeal and a source of succor for 
the woman. 21 

In a similar vein, the newborn infant and the fetus prior to birth are bound 
to the sun god. Recurrent imagery that associates the babe with sunrise 
and with aspects of the environment of sunrise is found in texts related 
to childbearing and the care of infants. In first millennium incantations 
designed to soothe a crying baby, the child is commonly described as the 
one "who has come out and seen the light of the sun god." 22 This depiction 

20 VS 17 34 1-3, J. van Dijk, "Une variante du theme de TEsclave de la Lune,'" ONS 41 
( 1 972) 343^4. For other discussions and translations of this text, see Benjamin R. Foster, Before 
the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature (2 nd ed.; Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 1996) 
137-8; Stol, Birth in Babylonia 63^1. 

21 The sun god weeps for the afflicted mother, lines 4-8: i-mu-ur-si-i-ma d UTU i-ba-ak-ki i-mu- 
ur-si-i-ma el-lam me-e i-il-la-la-ka di-i-ma-a-su am-mi-nim-mi d UTU i-ba-ak-ki \e\l-lam me-e 
i-il-la-ka di-ma-su, "He saw her, Samas, and was crying; he saw her, the Pure of Water, his tears 
were flowing. Why is Samas crying; why are the tears of the Pure of Water flowing?"; van Dijk, 
"Une variante du theme" 344, Stol, Birth in Babylonia 64. Numerous compositions indicate 
that appellants stand before the rising sun god and seek his aid, see discussion in Polonsky, The 
Rise of the Sun God 249-56, 585-607. In the Sumerian composition, "Incantation to Utu C," 
depending on the restoration, either the newborn child or the woman giving birth is among the 
petitioners before the sun god, see obv 27', and the restoration by Mark J. Geller, "Very Different 
Utu Incantations," ASJ 17 (1995) 110, 112: [ d utu dumu? u]-tu-da izi-gin7 igi-ni ba-ra-si-gal, 
"[Utu], the newborn [child] looks toward you like a fire"; or conversely: [ d utu munus]-u-tu-da, 
"[Utu] the birth-giving [mother]..." 

22 See, for instance, KAR 1 14 and dupl. (Farber § 32), 1-2: EN a-si-ib ek-le-ti la na[m-ru-te] 
it-ta-as-sa-ma e-ta-mar ZALAG2 d UTU-sz', "Incantation: dweller in darkness, where no light 
shines, he has come out and seen the light of the sun god"; LKA 9 (Farber §39), rev. i 16-18': 
EN a-si-ib ek-le-tim bi-nu-ut a-mi-lu-[ti] am-mi-ni la tab-ki ina SA AMA-[fa] a-di la tu-sa-am- 
ma tam-ma-ru sa-ru-ri d [UTU], "Incantation: dweller in darkness, creature of humankind, why 
did you not cry in the womb of your mother, and still not when you come out and see the rays 
of the sun god?"; BM 42327+ (Farber § 40) 10-11: EN a-sib ek-le-ti la-a a-[m]e-e[r] ZALAG 2 
d [U]TU-*j E-am-ma ta-ta-m[a]r ZA[LA]G2 d UTU-[« ], "Incantation: dweller in darkness who 
does not see the light of the sun, you have come out and you have seen the light of the sun"; see 
Walter Farber, Schlaf, Kindchen, schlaf!, Mesopotamische Baby-Beschworungen und-Rituale 
(MC 2; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1989) 98-9, 1 10-1, 1 14-5. For discussion of the form 
and theme of these injunctions to the child, see W. Farber, "Magic at the Cradle: Babylonian 
and Assyrian Lullabies," Anthropos 85 (1990) 142-5. 


J. Polonsky 

of the babe is found in Old Babylonian incantations utilized for the same 
purpose. 23 Similar imagery and statements occur in post-Old Babylonian 
birth incantations, enjoining the baby to come forth into the light of the sun 

ka-an-ga-tum lip-tas-si-ra li-sa-a nab-ni-tu 

GIR.PAD.DU a-hi-tum bi-nu-ut a-me-lu-ti 

ar-his li-ta-sa-am-ma li-ta-mar ZALAG2 d UTU-« 24 

May the sealed (womb) relax, may the creature come forth, 

A separate body, a creature of humankind, 

May it come forth without delay and see the light of the sun. 

In several texts sunrise is specifically mentioned suggesting that reference 
to the light of the sun indicates illumination at the emergence of the sun god 
at daybreak: 

EN a-s[ib e]k-let la a-mir si-it d UTU-s/ E.MES [tatamar nur d UTU-s/] 25 

Incantation: Dweller in darkness, who has not seen the sunrise, you have come 
out, [you have seen the light of the sun]. 

This identification of the light viewed by the newborn child as "sunrise" 
creates a connection between the moment of the appearance of the babe and 

23 For example, see BM 122691 rev. 1-2: se-eh-ru-um wa-si-ib bi-it ek-[le-tim] lu ta-ta-sa- 
am ta-ta-ma-ar n[u-ur d UTU], "Baby, who dwelt in the house of darkness, you have indeed 
come out, you have seen the li[ght of the sun]"; Walter Farber, "Zur alteren akkadischen 
Beschworungsliteratur," ZA 71 (1981) 62^; Schlaf, Kindchen, schlaf! 34-5; "Magic at the 
Cradle" 140; Foster, Before the Muses 1 139; AB 215 (OECT 11 2) 1-4: [at]-ta-a-ma r se n - 
r elf-ru[m] [w]u-ur-du-um sa a-we-lu-* ii* -\tim\ lu-u ta-at-ta-s[i]-a-am lu-ii ta-ta-mar d UTU 
nu-r[a-su], "You, child, offspring of humankind, you have indeed come out, you have seen 
the light of the sun god"; O. R. Gurney, Literary and Miscellaneous Texts in the Ashmolean 
Museum (OECT 11; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989) 19-20; Farber, "Magic at the Cradle" 
142; Schlaf, Kindchen, schlaf! 34-7; "Mannam luspur ana Enkidu: Some New Thoughts about 
an Old Motif," JNES 49(1 990) 309. 

24 VAT 8869 (BAM 248) ii 54-6 (and see ii 67-9), Ebeling, "Keilschrifttexte" 68-9; Foster, 
Before the Muses 2 878; Veldhuis, "New Assyrian Compendium" 250. In addition, note a text 
dated to the Middle Assyrian period, 48-9: se-li kak-ka sa-ti bu-nu-ut DIGIR.MES bu-nu-ut 
LU.U18.LU lu-u-sa-ma li-mur IZI.GAR, "Bring forth that sealed-up one, a creation of the 
gods, a creation of humankind. Let him come out to see the light"; W. G Lambert, "A Middle 
Assyrian Medical Text," Iraq 31 (1969) 31-2; Foster, Before the Muses 2 875; 11 N-T 3 38: 
... sa SA is-qil-la-tum li-kal-lim nu-ii-rum, " ... let him bring to light the one in the shell 
(referring to the child in the womb)"; Miguel Civil, "Medical Commentaries from Nippur," 
JNES 33 (1974) 332; and a digir-sa-dib-ba incantation from the Late Babylonian period, CBS 
(Kh 2 ) 1514 (PBS 1/1 14) 5: ul-tu SA ek-le-ti u-sa-am-ma ^UTU'' a-mur-ka, "I came forth from 
the dark womb and saw you Samas"; W. G. Lambert, "DINGIR.SA.DIB.BA Incantations," 
JNES 33 (1974) 274-5. 

2 = NBC 6151 (YOS 11 96; Farber §30) 19; and the parallel from a Nineveh Compendium 
(Farber §26) 375-6: [EN ser-ru a-sib ek-le]-te la a-mi-ru si-it d UTU [ta-at-ta-sa-am-ma] 
ta-ta-mar IZI.GAR d UTU; see Farber, Schlaf, Kindchen, schlaf! 96-7 and 88-9. 


The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth 

the moment of sunrise — a time of judgment by the light-giving sun god for 
the decreeing of destiny. 

Also, the use of the verb e {asu), "to rise" or "to come out," to describe 
the emergence of the baby mirrors the use of this verb to depict the rise of 
the sun god. Furthermore, in a bilingual text dated to the Old Babylonian 
period, the baby is associated with the rising sun god: 

[. . .] d utu-kam he- r em n -ma-ra- r e n 
[...] V-tim li-it-ta-as-<si> 26 

Let (the baby) rise for you (the mother) like the [...] of the sun god. 

This ideological comparison between the baby who emerges to view the sun 
and the rising sun god is complemented by ritual activity. A Sumerian birth 
incantation describes ceremonial acts performed before the sun god: 

tukum-bi nita sistukul su-ni-ta ib-TAR 
tukum-bi munus i i§ bala su-ni-ta ib-TAR 
igi- d utu-se su mu-na-ra-tal 27 

If it is a boy, the weapon is broken away from his hand; 
If it is a girl the spindle is broken away from her hand. 
For him (or her) the hands are raised before the sun god. 

The extension of the hands is a ritual act of both petition and homage before 
the solar deity, 28 and is reminiscent of the praise of the sun god indicated at 
the conclusion of the bilingual birth incantation under investigation here. 

In addition to the connection drawn between the newborn and the sun 
god, the fetus on its journey within the birth canal is associated with the 
environment of sunrise. In several Old Babylonian period birth incantations, 
the fetus is depicted as a boat embarking from the horizon, just as the sun 
god rises from the horizon each day: 

[x an-u]r du-da-a-ni ma-gi 4 a mi-ni-ri 

\i-si\-id sa-me-e ii er-se-tim i-na a-ta-lu-ki-sa ki-ma e-le-pi i-te-i-il 29 

(From) the horizon the woman who is about to give birth is leading the boat 
through the water. 

26 AUAM 73.3094 59-60, Cohen, "Literary Texts" 137-9. 

27 MLC 1207 (YOS 1 1 85) 27-9, van Dijk, "Incantations" 67, 69. 

28 See Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 403-5, 598-9, 917-22. 

29 See AUAM 73.3094 10-11, Cohen, "Literary Texts" 135-6, 139. See also MLC 1207 4: 
an-[ur-ra? munus-u]-tud-a-ni g' § ma-gi-min [bi-ir-ri], "From the horizon the [woman] who gives 
birth leads the reed boat"; van Dijk, "Incantations" 66-7. For literary images of the sun god 
rising from the horizon, see Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 181-94. 


J. Polonsky 

Therefore, the infant begins its journey toward sunlight and life from the 
point of origin of the sun god at sunrise. 

At the same time, in this and other birth incantations, the unborn fetus is 
represented as an eren-laden boat, recalling the realm of sunrise: 

r ma-se~'-ma-ta se-em im-mi-in-si 

ki-ma e-le-ep ri-qi ri-qi ma-li-a-at 
ma-e-re-na-ta e-re-en im-mi-in-[si] 

ki-ma e-le-ep e-re-ni e-re-na-am ma-li-[a-at] 
ma-se-em-e-re-na-ta se-em-e-re-na im-mi-[in-si] 

ki-ma e-le-ep ri-qi e-re-ni ri-qi e-re-n[a-am ma-li-a-at] 
ma-gu-ug-za-gi-na gu-ug-za-gi-na im-mi-i[n-si] 

ki-ma e-le-ep sa-am-tim ii uq-ni-im sa-am-t[a-am ii uq-na-am ma-li-a-at] 3,0 

Upon a boat of perfume, she has loaded perfume. 

Upon a boat of eren, she has loaded eren. 

Upon a boat of eren- fragrance, she has loaded eren- fragrance. 

(Upon) a boat of carnelian and lapis lazuli, she has loaded carnelian and lapis 


The fetus-boat is equipped by the mother with "perfume," a general term 
that is unable to be more specifically distinguished. She has also provided 
carnelian and lapis lazuli, indicators of the sex of the child (carnelian for a 
female and lapis lazuli for a male). 31 The eren-foliage and eren-fragrance 
that are carried by the fetus are products of the mountain of sunrise. 32 Also, 
eren and eren-incense have been identified as offerings placed before the 
gods during ceremonies of sunrise fate determination. 33 In this way, the 
babe is supplied by its mother with symbols of its identity and indicators of 

30 AUAM 73.3094 12-18, Cohen, "Literary Texts" 135-6, 139. See also MLC 1207 5-7: 
g' 5 [ma-sem-ta sem] im-mi-in-si [s a ma-s'%]ren-ta eiseren <im>-mi-in-si p i5 ]ma 1M4 gug [ na <]za- 
gin i-ni-si. (Van Dijk, "Incantations" 66, restores line 6: [x x x kur-s i5 e]ren-ta, but note the 
comparable designation of the boat in AUAM 73.3094). Another reference to an eren-tree 
occurs in MLC 1207 10: p'sma s i5 su-u]r-me-ku5 E'%ren-ku5-da, "[The boat] of cut cypress 
trees, cut eren-trees." In addition, see E 47.190 4-6: ma-si-im-ma-ki-im si-im ba-gar ma-i-ri- 
na-ki-im i-ri-na-am ba-gar ma-gu-ug-za-gi-na gu-ug za-gi-na i-ni-gar, "As on a boat carrying 
perfume, perfume has been loaded; as on a boat carrying eren, eren has been loaded; on 
the boat of carnelian and lapis lazuli, she (the mother) loaded carnelian and lapis lazuli"; 
Farber, "Another Old Babylonian Childbirth Incantation" 313-15; AUAM 73.1425 rev. col. 
iii 6-10: ma-sim-ka sim-ba-a-gar ma E a eren-ka s is eren ba-a-gar ma guskin ku za-gin, Marcel 
Sigrist, "Une tablette d' incantations sumeriennes," ASJ 2 (1980) 157, 159; BAM 248 (and 
dupls.), i 5-6: [... M]A S' § ERE[N ...] [...] ri-qi [e-re-ni] ri-qi e-re-ni-ma, Veldhuis, "New 
Assyrian Compendium" 241. For discussion of these texts see Stol, Birth in Babylonia 60-3; 
Cunningham, "Deliver Me From Evil" 69-75, 107; van Dijk, "Incantations" 73 — 4. 

31 Stol, Birth in Babylonia 62; Irene J. Winter, "The Aesthetic Value of Lapis Lazuli in 
Mesopotamia," in Cornaline et pierres precieuses (ed. Annie Caubet; Paris: Documentation 
francaise — Musee du Louvre, 1999) 52. 

32 Polonsky, "ki- d utu-e-a" 92^1; "The Rise of the Sun God" 296-327. 

33 Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 581-5. 


The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth 

the mountain of sunrise, which place the child within the milieu of sunrise 
ideology and simultaneously provide it with the principal materials proffered 
to the sun god and the divine assembly for the decree of fate at the emergence 
of the child. 

These components of the language of recitation within birth incantations 
suggest that the birth-giving process was conceptualized as a journey of the 
newborn from a place of darkness and potential death 34 toward a location 
representing the inception of life — the place of the rising sun god where 
destiny is determined. 

The imagery evoked through ritual recitation forges a connection between 
childbirth and sunrise. The birth-giving mother and the child call out to or 
are positioned before the rising sun god. The fetus traverses the birth canal in 
an eren-laden boat, a symbol of the mountain of the rising sun god, as well as 
the scented foliage that entices the divine assembly to congregate for sunrise 
fate determination. The infant is enjoined to come out and view the sun, and 
in some cases specifically to gaze upon the sunrise. He is linked to the rising 
sun god. The representations associating the babe with the rising sun god and 
the place of sunrise found in incantations recited at birth suggest that ritual 
actions may have symbolized the dawn of the day in accompaniment with 
the awakening of a new life. Therefore, the sun god and sunrise are integral 
elements of the ideology, representation, and ceremonial enactment of birth. 

In conjunction with sunrise, the concept of fate determination is another 
intrinsic theme associated with childbirth. As with cosmological creation, 35 
the moment of birth is a primary instance for the decree of destiny in ancient 

34 For instance, see KAR 114 (Farber § 32) 1, LKA 9 (Farber §39) rev. i 16', and BM 42327+ 
(Farber §40) 10, which record the same phrase asib ekleti, "dweller in darkness" (for full 
citations, see n. 22 above); Farber, Schlaf, Kindchen, schlaf! 98-9, 110-1, 114-5; CBS (Kh 2 ) 
1514 (PBS 1/1 14) 5: ul-tu SA ek-le-ti u-sa-am-ma, "I came forth from the dark womb"; 
Lambert, "DINGIR.SA.DIB.BA Incantations" 274-5; BM 122691 rev. 1 : se-eh-ru-um wa-si-ib 
bi-it ek- [le-tim ] , "Baby, who dwelt in the house of darkness"; Farber, "Zur alteren akkadischen 
Beschworungsliteratur" 63^4, 68. Farber understands bit ekleti as a reference to the womb, 
and that interpretation is followed here. For discussion of this motif, see Farber, "Magic at the 
Cradle" 144 and fig. 3; Schlaf, Kindchen, schlaf! 149-50 and 160 fig. 5.2.7. It should be noted 
that bit ekleti is also associated with the Netherworld, see CAD I s.v. ikletu, meaning c2', and 
references therein. Also, in an Old Babylonian period birth incantation, the boat- fetus traverses 
a far off sea, impenetrable by the eye of the sun, YBC 4603 7-11: i-na me-e ti-a-am-tim ru-qii- 
u-tim a-sar se-eh-ru-um ku-us-sa-a i-da-a-su qi-ir-bi-is-sii la-a us-na-wa-ru i-in sa-am-si-im 
i-mu-ur-su-u-ma d ASAR.LU.HI ma-ri d EN.KI, "In the water of the far-off sea, there is the babe, 
his arms are bound; there within, where the eye of the sun does not shine, Asarluhi, son of Enki, 
saw him"; van Dijk, "Une incantation" 503^4; Foster, Before the Muses 1 136. In addition, see 
discussion by Karel van der Toorn, "Magic at the Cradle: A Reassessment," in Mesopotamian 
Magic: Textual, Historical, and Interpretive Perspectives (ed. T. Abusch and K. van der Toorn; 
AMD 1; Groningen: Styx, 1999) 146. 

35 See discussion in Polonsky The Rise of the Sun God 1-2 with n. 3 and 1 1 8-20, and citations; 
JackN. Lawson, The Concept of Fate in Ancient Mesopotamia of the First Millennium: Toward 
an Understanding ofSTmtu (Orientalia Biblica et Christiana 7; Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 
1994) 19-23. 


J. Polonsky 

Mesopotamia. 36 Ideally, at birth, each individual being would obtain its 
nature, its characteristics, and the essence of its existence; each being would 
receive the benefit of a positive fate from the deities, a proper span of life, 
and a straight path toward health and well-being to be renewed daily before 
the divine assembly at sunrise. 

The connection between birth and fate determination is found in numer- 
ous compositions. In the Akkadian language text Atra-hasis, the creation of 
the human species, which has been decided upon by the divine assembly, 37 
takes place within the "house of destiny" (bit simti). 3 * The manufacture of in- 
dividual (albeit misshapen) human beings in the Sumerian composition Enki 
and Ninmah is accompanied by a decree of fate. 39 Also, the Mesopotamian 
birth goddess 40 is assigned a role in the determination of destiny, a connection 
that is made clear by her titles in god lists, royal literature, and mythological 
texts. In Atra-hasis, she is described: 

[sa-a]s-su-ru ba-ni-a-at si-ma-ti 41 
Birth goddess, creatrix of destiny. 

In a hymn of the Larsa king Rim- Sin the actions of the birth goddess are 

d nin-tu-re u-tu-za sa mi-ni-ib-[hul] nam-gal sa-mu-ri-in-[tar] 42 

36 See Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 121-7, 608-22. 

37 Atra-hasis I 204-1 9, W. G. Lambert and A. R. Millard, Atra-hasis: The Babylonian Story of 
the Flood (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969) 56-9. 

38 Atra-hasis I 249—50: i-te-er-bu a-na E si-im-ti ni-is-s[i-ku] d e-a e-ris-tu d ma-ma, "Prince 
Ea and the wise Mami entered into the house of destiny." Their actions to create humankind 
from clay are described in lines 251-260 (where the text breaks off). This description can be 
compared with the Assyrian version of this event (K 3399 + 3934 [S] obv. iii 1-14), Lambert 
and Millard, Atra-hasis 60-3. 

39 In the midst of a contest between the god Enki and the goddess Ninmah, each being created 
by Ninmah is granted a destiny by Enki, see C. A. Benito, '"Enki and Ninmah' and 'Enki and 
the World Order'" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1969); rev. unpub. ms. M.W Green. 

40 The Mesopotamian birth goddess (most often designated as Nintu, Ninhursaga, Ninmah, 
Aruru, Mami, or Belet-ill) is discussed by Stol, Birth in Babylonia 74-83; M. Krebernik, 
"Muttergottin. A.I. In Mesopotamien," RIA 8 (1995) 502-16; H. Frankfort, "A Note on the 
Lady of Birth," JNES 3 (1944) 198-200; Thorkild Jacobsen, "Notes on Nintur," ONS 42 

41 Atra-hasis III vi 46; see also the Assyrian recension of Atra-hasis (K 3399 + 3934 [S]) obv. 
iii 11, Lambert and Millard, Atra-hasis 102-3 and 62-3, respectively. For additional epithets, 
see d nin-nam-tar-tar-re, "lady who determines fates," d nin-ka-as-bar-ra, "lady of decision- 
making," and d nin-ka-as-bar-an-ki, "lady of decision-making of heaven and earth," see An = 
Anum Tablet II 8-10, Richard L. Litke, A Reconstruction of the Assyro-Babylonian God Lists, 
AN: d A-nu-um and AN: Anu sa ameli (Texts from the Babylonian Collection 3; New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1998) 66-7; Jacobsen, "Notes on Nintur" 292-3. 

42 Rim-Sin H (UET 6 100) a 3. See also the role of the birth goddess in Gudea Statue A 
col. iii 4-6: nin an-ki-a nam-tar-re-de d nin-tu ama-digir-re-ne-ke4, "Lady who determines 


The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth 

Nintu, (her) heart rejoiced at your (Inana's) birth; accordingly she decreed a 
great destiny for you. 

It should be noted that the birth goddess is awarded the ability to decree 
destiny by Enlil, the chief fate- determining god, 43 and she relies on the sun 
god for the enactment of this power. 44 

A further reference to the birth of humankind places the sun god in control 
of the decree of destiny: 

d UTU ina qi-bit-ka-ma u-tal-la-da te-ne-se-ti 
ta-sam si-ma-te-si-na ta-sar-rak-si-na-ti dum-qa 45 

Samas, by your command, humankind was born. 
You determine their fate, you give them good fortune. 

In this composition the sun god rising as the herald of the divine assembly, 
as the facilitator of the decree of destiny, and as the supreme judge at sunrise 
fate determination, is designated as the god who decides fate at the birth of 
all beings, highlighting the connection between the sun god birth, and the 
determination of destiny. 

Other texts that probe beyond the initial creation of humankind provide 
evidence of the beliefs associated with an individual's birth. The decree of 
fate for a newborn child is emphasized during two separate periods of the 
birth process. In a manner similar to the use of sunrise imagery in connection 
with both the fetus and the moment of its birth, the decree of fate is linked 
with gestation as well as the delivery of the child. 

destiny in heaven and earth, Nintu, mother of the gods"; Dietz O. Edzard, Gudea and His 
Dynasty (RIME 3/1 ; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) 30; Thorkild Jacobsen, "Notes 
on Nintur" 278; Ur-Ninurta D 15-16: d nin-tu-re hi-li r mu' l -[un-si]- r in-tu' , -ud{-de-en} U(,-[di- 
zu]- r se n ma-ra-an-gub gis-sub-ba-ni sa6-ge mu- r un" l -[ge]- r en" 1 igi-za im-mi- r in" 1 -[x], "Nintu 
has borne attractiveness for him (Ur-Ninurta); she has made him stand for you for [your] 
admiration; she has firmly established his lot as favorable; she has made him [. . .] before you"; 
A. Falkenstein, "Sumerische religiose Texte," ZA 52 (1957) 57, 59-60, 66-7. 

43 See Enlil in the Ekur 123-6: kur-gal d en-lil-da nu-me-a d nin-tu nu-ugs-ge sag-gis nu-ra-ra 
ab-e e-tur-ra amar-bi nu-sub-be uj(-e) amas-bi-a sila4-ga-gig nu-e, "Without Great Mountain, 
Enlil, Nintu could not kill, could not strike down. The cow in the cowshed would not lose its 
calf, the sheep in its sheepfold would not bring forth a premature lamb"; Adam Falkenstein, 
SGL l(Heidelberg: 1959) 17, 24, 73; Thorkild Jacobsen, The Harps That Once ... Sumerian 
Poetry in Translation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987) 109. Also, see discussion in 
Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 154-8 and n. 448. 

44 Incantation to Utu A 57: [ d utu za-a-d]a nu-me-a [ d ni]n-mah nin nig-dim-dim-ma gi-li kus- 
kus-da n[am]-lii-ulu3-{ke4} nam-lii-ulu3 nu-un-tar-re, "Utu, without you Ninmah, the lady who 
creates everything, who cuts the umbilical cord, could not decide the fate for mankind"; Bendt 
Alster, "Incantation to Utu," ASJ 1 3 ( 1 99 1 ) 47, 73, 8 1 . 

« VAT 8276 (KAR 80 with dupl. BM 78240) 22, within a paean of praise to the sun god as 
judge of all beings at fate determination (lines 1-14), Erich Ebeling, "Quellen zur Kenntnis 
der babylonischen Religion I," MVAG 23 (1918) 27-34; S. Langdon, "A Babylonian Ritual of 
Sympathetic Magic by Burning Images," RA 26 (1929) 39^12. 


J. Polonsky 

The conceptualization that the fate of a baby is determined at birth, even 
as it lies within the womb of its mother is evinced by such statements: 

is-tu sa-as-su-ri-su si-im-tum td-[a]b-t[u]m si-ma-as-sii 46 

Ever since he was in his (mother's) womb, a favorable destiny was decreed for 

In particular, the fate of the Mesopotamian ruler was considered to be 
destined prior to his birth. 47 A hymn of self-praise of Sulgi of the Ur III 

dynasty states: 

lugal a lugal-e ri-a nin-e tu-da-me-en 

sul-gi-me-en dumu-gi7 sa-zi-ta nam-duio tar-ra-me-en 48 

I, the king, engendered by a king, born of a queen. 

I, Sulgi, the princely son, whose good fate was determined from the true womb. 

This depiction associates pre-destination with conception and projects the 
future of individuals, and the Mesopotamian ruler, while still within the 

Also, at the birth and emergence of the child into the light of the sun god, 
the fate of the newborn is decreed. 49 The severing of the umbilical cord, the 
physical separation of the child from its parent, is the moment when the fate 
of the baby is determined. A childbirth incantation depicts Gula, a healing 
goddess, in the act of cutting the cord: 

d gu-la agrig-zi-[su]-dim4-ma-ke4 

gi-[dur] kus-ra-a-ni nam he-em-mi-ib-tar-r[e] 50 

46 Ni 13088 9-10, F.R. Kraus, "Eine neue Probe akkadischer Literatur: Brief eines Bittstellers 
an eine Gottheit," JAOS 103 (1983) 205-6; see discussion in Stol, Birth in Babylonia 87-8. 

47 For discussion and additional examples involving the Mesopotamian ruler, see Polonsky, 
"The Rise of the Sun God" 440-2; and for similar descriptions of later period kings, see CAD 
S/2 s.v. sassuru A, meaning b. Also, see discussion in W. W. Hallo, "The Birth of Kings," 
in Studies Pope 45-52; Jacob Klein, "The Birth of the Crownprince in the Temple: A Neo- 
Sumerian Topos," in CRRAI 33 (1987) 97-106; W.G Lambert, "The Seed of Kingship," in 
CRRAI 29 (1974) 427^10; Stol, Birth in Babylonia 87-8. 

48 Sulgi B 11-12, G.R. Castellino, Two Sulgi Hymns (BC), (Studi Semitici 42; Rome: 1972) 

49 The king's fate is also represented as decreed at birth, see for instance, Sulgi F 229-30: 
ud-tu-da-guio ud-he-gal-l[a]- r x n ud d en-lil-le nam-tar-ra- r x-x n , "The day of my birth was a day 
of abundance, the day Enlil was decreeing fate"; unpub. ms. Jacob Klein; rev. unpub. ms. Ake 
W. Sjoberg; and see further discussion of this text in Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 440 
n. 1312. 

50 UM 29-15-367, 49-50, van Dijk, "Incantations" 56-7, 61. This association is reinforced by 
other literary texts, including Nininsina hymn A 75: ... gi-dur ku5-de nam tar-re-de, "... to cut 
the umbilical cord, to determine fate"; W. H. Ph. Romer, "Einige Beobachtungen zur Gottin 
Nini(n)sina auf Grund von Quellen der Ur III-Zeit und der altbabylonischen Periode," in Studies 


The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth 

Gula, the true provider with capable hands, 

While cutting his (or her) umbilical cord, she determines his (or her) fate. 

In addition, the severing of the umbilical cord is associated with the decree 
of fate for the nascent ruler. 51 The cutting of the umbilical cord is an event 
that lends itself to ritual procedure. It is the moment when the identity 
and gender of the child are established. 52 Stol has suggested that this is 
a time for reciting incantations to ward off disease and demons before 
the determination of fate. 53 A hymn to Nungal reflects this element of the 

d nin-tu-e ki-nam-dumu-zi-ka mu-da-an-gub-be 
gi-dur-ku 5 -da nam-tar-re-da inim-sa6-ge-bi mu-zu 54 

I (Nungal) assist Nintu at the place of the child-quickening. 

For severing the umbilical cord and determining the destiny (of the child) 

I know the favorable word. 

With the umbilical cord intact, the child remains a part of its mother. At the 
severing of this link, the child begins its life as an individual human being. 
The fetus of pre-determined fate, with its form and future decreed by the gods 
in preparation for life, emerges, and with the decree of fate at the severing 
of the umbilical cord is now ready for the crystallization of its character and 

von Soden 295-6; Jacobsen, "Notes on Nintur" 290 n. 59; Incantation to Utu 57, see above 
note 44; an Old Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgames (PBS 10/3 pi. LXVI 27-29): i-na 
mi-il-ki sa DlGlR qd-bi-ma i-na bi-ti-iq a-bu-un-na-ti-su si-ma-as-sitm, "It was commanded 
through the counsel of a god, and was determined for him at the cutting of his umbilical 
cord"; for an alternative translation see Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh (New York: 
Barnes and Noble Books, 1999) 15; similarly, A. R. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic. 
Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts (2 vols.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 
2003) 178-9. 

51 See Enlil-bani A 136^42: digir-mah [x] u' kalam-ma sa-dagal-zu-se nam i-ri-in-[tar] gi-li- 
dur kus-da-zu nam-en mu-ra-an-ak, "The exalted god [...] ... of the land for your expansive 
heart [decreed] destiny for you. At the cutting of your umbilical cord he appointed you to the 
EN-ship"; A. Kapp, "Ein Lied auf Enlilbani von Isin," ZA 51 (1955) 79, 82; Isme-Dagan A 
40-5: d nu-nam-nir en-nun-nun-e-ne lugal-a lugal-be-e A is-me- A da-gan dumu- d da-gan-na-me- 
en r uru n -ku-ga nam-duio ha-ma-ni-in-tar a sa-ga ru-a-ga mu-duio ha-ma-ni-in-sa4 [ d ]nin-tu 
TU.TU-a ha-ma-ni-in-gub r gi n -dur kus-ra-ga [. . .] nam-en ha-ma-ni-in-gar, "Nunamnir, lord of 
princes, king of kings, I, Isme-Dagan, son of Dagan, in the sacred city he decreed a good fate 
for me. At the placing of my seed in the womb, he named a good name for me. Nintu stood 
there for me at birth. At the cutting of my umbilical cord [...], she established for me the 
EN-ship"; W.H.Ph. Romer, SKIZ (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1965) 41-2; unpub. ms. B. Eichler. 

52 In the birth incantation UM 29- 15-367, 47-50, symbols of the gender of the child are placed 
in its hand just prior to the cutting of the umbilical cord, see van Dijk, "Incantations" 56-7, 61; 
Stol, Birth in Babylonia 6 1 . 

53 Stol, Birth in Babylonia 143. 

54 Nungal hymn 71-2, Ake W. Sjoberg, "Nungal in the Ekur," A/O 24 (1973) 32-3, 43; for an 
alternative translation see Pascal Attinger, "L'hymne a Nungal," in Studies Wilcke 18, 32. 


J. Polonsky 

the allotment of its prescribed portion of existence: a (presumably) favorable 
destiny to carry through life. 55 

Using the above outlined association between birth, sunrise, and fate 
determination, the bilingual childbirth incantation that introduced this dis- 
cussion can be examined once again. In that composition the moment of 
birth is directly related to the time of the rise of the sun god. The sun god 
is depicted within the realm of sunrise, 56 rising from the interior of heaven 
and crossing Hasur mountain into view of the petitioners, the woman in la- 
bor and the asipu-priest. The sun god is addressed as the supreme judge of 
all beings and is flanked by the embodiments of divine judgment, nig-zi-da 
(kittu), "truth," and nig-si-sa (misaru), "justice," members of the court of the 
sun god at sunrise fate determination. 57 Papnuna (Bunene), the sun god's 
vizier, acts as an intermediary, and bears favorable words to the rising sun 
god. 58 The personal god, whose presence is signified by the identification 
of the mother as the "daughter of her god," serves as an advocate of the 
birth-giving mother. 59 Therefore, in this text, the environment of sunrise fate 
determination and the structure of communication both within the divine 
realm and between heaven and earth at the decree of destiny are evident. 60 

This prayer to the rising sun god at the time of childbirth reflects the 
dual role of the god, as both the merciful aide to the afflicted, overturning 
a negative decree, and as the instigator and judge during the process of 
fate determination for a positive decree of destiny. The appeal to the rising 
sun god assures the health of the mother, dispels any agents of harm 61 and 
enables a safe delivery. In addition, the exorcist prays for the future health 
of the mother and child before the sun god, inaugurating the favorable fate 
of the newborn. The expected result of the invocation to the rising sun god 
is both the safe delivery of the child and well-being (a favorable fate) for the 
babe and its mother. 

The additional evidence from birth incantations and other texts demon- 
strates that the environment of birth is conceived as one of sunrise and fate 
determination. Sunrise imagery and the decree of fate play a role in the con- 

55 See Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 75-108, 168-78. 

56 Also, it should be noted that the sun god is related to the heavens in the initial lines of 
the text, in conjunction with his identification as the son of Sin and Ningal (lines 5-6): He is 
described as the son of An in lines 1-2 of the composition. In addition, lines 9-10 designate 
his consort, Aia, as the "bride who dwells in sacred heaven." 

57 See Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 236-8. 

58 Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 146, 161-6. 

59 See line 14. For the role of the personal god in the determination of destiny at sunrise, see 
Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 357-8. 

<>o Polonsky, "The Rise of the Sun God" 135-68 and fig. 6.1. 

61 For instance, the witchcraft referred to in lines 39^10. See JoAnn Scurlock, "Baby-snatching 
Demons, Restless Souls and the Dangers of Childbirth: Medico-magical Means of Dealing with 
Some of the Perils of Motherhood in Ancient Mesopotamia," Incognita 2 (1991) 135-83. 


The Mesopotamian Conceptualization of Birth 

ceptualization of both the unborn and newly delivered child. The darkness 
of the womb is contrasted with the light and life-giving force of the sun. 
The fetus on its journey in the birth canal is immersed in the environment of 
sunrise, and fate is decreed within the womb. Then, the baby comes out to 
the sun(rise), and at the cutting of its umbilical cord a determination of fate 
is made for the newborn individual. 

In this way, the beliefs surrounding sunrise fate determination serve as 
a context for the birth of a child in ancient Mesopotamia. Sunrise is the 
time of assembly of the gods to decree fate, the moment within a diurnal 
cycle for the individual to perform the necessary rituals and recitations in 
order to institute, maintain, recover from, and interpret the decisions of the 
gods. The bilingual incantation for a woman in labor invoking the rising 
sun god, the place of the rising sun god and the role of the solar deity as 
judge of all during fate determination at sunrise, reflects the convergence 
of the beliefs concerning birth, fate determination, and sunrise. For these 
reasons, the rising sun god is an appropriate deity for the appeal of a woman 
having difficulty in childbirth. His role as convener of the divine assembly for 
fate determination and judge of the decree enables the institution of divine 
decision for the survival of the woman in labor and for her babe to be born 
into its fate and into the light of the rising sun god. 



Erica Reiner f 

David Pingree and I suggested in BPO 2 23 that the last tablets of Enuma Anu 
Enlil (Tablets 69-70 according to one system of numbering) dealt not with 
any particular celestial body, but with a recurring phenomenon that served 
as a kenning; the last tablet of the series had as its kenning adir, 'is dim,' 
and the preceding tablet a phenomenon that was expressed by the logogram 
TE. 1 TE normally corresponds, in celestial omen texts as well as in other 
contexts, to the verb tehu, 'to come close.' Since only planets may change 
their position so that they come close to a constellation or to another planet, 
the meaning of the verb needs to be interpreted in some other fashion. 

Similar problems arise with protases in which various stars and constel- 
lations "enter" (TU) some other constellation; such verbs of motion said of 
fixed stars have been discussed by me in a paper presented at the conference 
on ancient astronomy, Under One Sky, organized by John Steele, held in 
London in June 200 1. 2 Here I would like to present the omens in which the 
behavior of a star or constellation is expressed by the verb tehu, "to come 
close," usually written with its logogram TE. I am delighted to offer sam- 
ples of these texts in honor of Erie Leichty, who has identified many omen 
texts in the British Museum and with his customary generosity let me peruse 
his transliterations, from which I greatly benefited throughout my work on 
Enuma Anu Enlil (EAE). 

The suggestion concerning the last two tablets of EAE was based on K 
2329 (ACh Istar 30), a commentary to EAE, the obverse of which deals 
with comments on omens with protases ending in TE and ends with a rubric 
identifying the foregoing as a commentary on Tablet 69 of EAE. The reverse 
of the tablet contains a commentary on Tablet 70. 

Among the astral texts in the British Museum that I was privileged to 
study I found neither a complete "TE-tablet" nor a complete tablet that did 
not include predicates other than TE in its protases. Yet there are sections, 
sometimes rather long ones, in a number of incomplete tablets with protases 
ending in TE, and there are also smaller fragments that contain uniquely such 
protases, but it is not known whether the tablet, when complete, included 

1 Erica Reiner in collaboration with David Pingree, Babylonian Planetary Omens: Part Two. 
Enuma Anu Enlil, Tablets 50-51 (BiMes 2/2; Malibu, Calif.: Undena Publications, 1981) 23. 

2 A number of papers from this conference have now appeared in Under One Sky. Astronomy 
and Mathematics in the Ancient Near East (ed. John M. Steele and Annette Imhausen; 
AOAT 297; Munster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2002). 


Erica Reiner 

other types of protases too. Note that in several of the texts the sections with 
TE omens are followed by adir, 'dim,' omens, a phenomenon commented 
upon on the reverse of K 2329, which is designated as commentary on Tablet 

In some exemplars the subject of the verb TE is a planet, and Mars is 
especially frequent: there is nothing unusual about planets coming close 
(TE = tehu) to stars or other planets. I would not consider it impossible 
that the original version of Tablet 69 dealt with Mars omens, especially 
Mars's "coming close" to other celestial bodies and that the phenomenon 
"coming close," whatever its original meaning may have been, would have 
been predicated of other celestial bodies too. What that meaning was can 
only be guessed at; it is David Pingree's conviction that the predicate TE that 
literally means 'comes close' originally indicated the star or constellation's 
position in relation to some feature of celestial geography. 

The Babylonian scholars who left us the astral omens found in the 
library of Assurbanipal and in various first-millennium Babylonian sites 
were themselves perplexed by the predication of movement to fixed stars. 
Seeking to explain a phenomenon that they in the first millennium BC took 
to mean 'to come close' but that they knew to be impossible, they devised a 
scheme by which they substituted a planet — most often Mars — for the star or 
constellation that was the subject of the verb tehu (TE). These substitutions 
are appended as comments, with their typical identifying mark consisting of 
the final particle -ma, to the astronomically impossible omen. 

It may also be the case that the various lists which equate fixed stars and 
constellations with planets depending on the planet's visibility according to 
the calendar months or cardinal points could have been drawn up to explicate 
omens affecting motions of fixed stars. An example of such a list is BM 45697 
(LBAT 1564) in which various stars are said to equal Venus in one of the 
twelve months and in one of the directions (east or west) where the planet is 
becoming visible, perhaps in a more precise way at the point of its heliacal 
rising. 3 

To illustrate what a "TE- tablet" may have looked like I offer here a translit- 
eration and translation of the obverse of the unpublished text BM 47799, to 
which BM 34058 (LBAT 1565) and K 8000 (ACh Istar 24) are partial du- 
plicates. Entries with the predicate TE (tehu) from the commented text K 
2329 (ACh Istar 30) and from other fragmentary texts are cited in the list of 
protases that follow the (partial) edition of BM 47799. Unpublished texts are 
cited courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum, London. 

An indication that the sequence of omens and thereby the tablet number 
assignments of the EAE commentary K 2329 follow at least one of the 

3 See WeHner, Handbuch 118f. 


If Mars Comes Close to Pegasus . . . 

manuscript traditions of EAE is the fact that the reverse of BM 47799 — at 
least as far as it is preserved — ends with a list of stars that are 'dim' (adir), 
a term that is explicated on the reverse of K 2329, which is identified as a 
commentary to Tablet 70 of EAE. 

BM 47799 

a BM 47799 

b BM 34058 (LBAT 1565) obv. 1-17 

c K 8000 {ACh Istar 24) rev. 10-23 4 

a 1'. |M[UL 

a 2'. 1 MUL [ 

a 3'. | MUL TA? X [ 

a 4'. | MUL NIM.MA [ ] r &\ 

a 5'. 1 MUL SAG GlfRTAB] NU' X [ 

a 6'. I) MUL KUN GIR.TAB d EN r A n '?[ 

a 7'. 1 MUL AMA.RU.UM.AN.NA ft-x 

a 8'. 1 MUL MAN-ma ana MULAS.GAn TE AAB.BA ib-b[al 

c 10'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MULAS.GAn TE AAB.BA VD-ma [ 5 

a 9'. 1 MUL MAN-ma ana MUL Sul-pa-e TE ina MU BI LUGAL URI.KT [ 

c 19'. | MUL MAN-ma ana MUL.EN.TE.NA.BAR.HUM TE KUR [ 

all'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL.MASTAB.BA TE LUGAL BE-ma [ 


a 12'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL Dil-bat TE ina MU BI ana ITI.[6.KAM 
c 20'. | MUL MAN-ma ana MUL Dil-bat TE ina MU BI ana 6 ITI LUGAL SU BE-ma 

a 1 3'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL.KU 6 TE me-sir-ti K[U 6 .HIA ina KUR HA.A 

c 12'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL.KU 6 TE me-sir-tum KU 6 .HIA ina KURHAA GIG [ 

a 14'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL UDUBAD TE : ana MUL Si-nu-nu-tum TE N[AM 
c 21'. | MUL MAN-ma ana MUL UDUBAD TE NIGGAl KUR : [ ] 

a 1 5'. 1 MUL MAN-ma ana MUL JVm-TU TE ta-lit-ti [ 

c 22'. [H MUL MAN-ma] ana MUL Nin-mah TE UTU NAM.LU.U[ X .LU 

a 16'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL SUGI TE a-a-um-ma[ 

c 13'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL.MAS.GU.GArTE a-a-um-ma Zl-ma LUGALGAZ [ 

a 17'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL.MUL TE HA.A KUR [ 

c 14'. I) MUL MAN-ma ana MUL.MUL TE HA.A KUR BIR [UN.MES] 

4 Only If MUL is preserved on the obverse. Note that the sequence of omens in c diverges from 
that of a: omens c 18', 19', 20' and 21' occur before and interspersed with omens ell' and 12'. 
Note that line 17' of ACh is my line 16'b. Therefore the numbers of all following lines have to 
be reduced by one line. 

5 Line 9', the line that precedes the ruling, has If MUL.UG5.GA ana [MUL.KAL].NE TE 
[SU.KU GAL-si], restorations from 81-7-27, 137:25 (ACh IndSupp. 81). 


Erica Reiner 

1 MUL MAN-mfl ana d En-me-sar-ra TE SA KUR DUG-[ 6 

| MUL MAN-mfl ana <*En-me-sar-ra TE SA KUR D\JG-ab [ 

1 MUL MAN-mfl ana MUL AL.LUL TE NUN BE : 7 

1 MUL MAN-mfl ana MUL [. . . TE 

I) MUL MAN-mfl araa MUL.SAG.ME.GAR TE ina MU BI LUGAL BE-ma [ 

1 MUL MAN-mfl ana MUL Dil-batTE inaMXJ BI ana 6 ITI LUGAL SU BE-ma x [ 
1 MUL MAN-ma ana MUL £W-6a/ TE : . . . 

[H MUL MAN-ma ana MUL] d ^-«/m TE HA.A KUR [ 8 

1 MUL T E?-tu-ra-am-mi SUKKAL d A-nu-ni-tum ana MUL SU.PA TE ina MU [ 
|'MUL' , [...] 

| MUL r BAL\TES.A SUKKAL d [Tispak] r ana MUL\[GIR.TAB TE 
GAL-ma ha-ah-hu u su-a-lu[m 



ina KUR GAL SI.SA me-ri-si : SA [ 

1 MUL HE.GAL-a-a SUKKAL '^Nin-lil ana MUL.UZ TE LUGAL [ 

ina KUR GAL-si a-la-la DUGGA ina KUR GAL ^Sakkan u A Nisaba 
[ina KUR GAL] 

1 MUL Lu-lim SUKKAL MUL.MUL ana MUL SIPA.ZI. ANNA TE id-ra-[na-a-tum 
[id-ra]-na-a-tum ina KUR GAL.ME-ma d IMIN.[BI 


MUL.NUN.KI TE me-ri-[ 



[me-ri\-se-e-tum ina KUR DU.A.[BI 

b 12'. [ ana M]UL.BAN TE BURU14 KUR SI.SAme-[ 

b 13'. [ ].MES-i« 3'-' MU SEG.ME u A.KAL.ME GAL.ME-ma SE.GI[S.I 

a 25'. BE-ma MUL GAL ana MUL.MUL TE d [ 

b 14'. [ ] ana MUL.MUL TE d IMLNf.BI [ 

a 26'. BE-ma MUL GAL ina SA A Sin DU la [ 

bl5'. [ ]SA d 5mDU la le-[ 

a 27'. BE-ma MUL.GULA im-ta-qut NU[N 

b 1 6'. [ ] im-qu-ut [ 

a 18'. 

c 15'. 

c 16'a. 

c 1605. 





a 19'. 


a 20'. 



a 21'. 



a 22'. 



a 23'. 



a 24'. 


b 11'. 

6 Ruling in a. For the omen cf. Hermann Hunger, Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings 
(SAA 8; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1992) 503. 

7 Omen cited in Hunger, SAA 8 452. 

8 c breaks. 

9 Ruling in a and b. 

10 Ruling in b. 

11 Ruling in a and b. The remaining lines of the tablets do not deal with TE omens. To the 
reverse ofLBAT 1565, K 10679 and Sm 851 are partial duplicates. 


If Mars Comes Close to Pegasus ... 

a 28'. 
b 17'. 


fflo] MUL it-tan-mar 

r U\GUG bu-lim LUGAL [ 
U.GUG bu-lim LUGAL [ 

a 29'. 
b 18'. 


ma ...]xKI<iSwDU.MES 


r U 13n .[HI.A? 
E.HI.A [ 

a 30'. 
b 19'. 

] A JUTU sah- 
] : A d UTU sah- 

™ n x [ 
™ n x [ 



]-ma SILA (erasurt 
i-b]ar-ru-su ah-rat 

?) DU.MES 

b traces of two more lines to end of obverse. 


a 1-7' (fragmentary, possibly equating various stars with deities) 

8'. If the Strange star comes close to the Field: the sea will dry up [. . .] 

9'. If the Strange star comes close to Sulpae (= Jupiter): in that year the king of Akkad 

10'. If the Strange star comes close to Centaurus: the land [will see] hardship. 
1 1'. If the Strange star comes close to the (Great) Twins: the king will die and [. . .] 
12'. If the Strange star comes close to Venus: in that year within' six months a universal 

king will die and [there will be enmity.] 
13'. If the Strange star comes close to the Fish: the bounty offish will disappear from the 

land, disease'' [...] 
14'. If the Strange star comes close to a planet (Mercury?), variant: the Swallow: the 

possessions of the land [...] 
15'. If the Strange star comes close to the star Nin-TU (variant: Ninmah): the offspring of 

people [...] 
16'. If the Strange star comes close to the Old Man (variant in c: the star of the Tigris): 

someone will arise and kill the king [. . .] 
17'. If the Strange star comes close to the Pleiades: destruction of the land, dispersal of 

the people. 
18'. If the Strange star comes close to Enmesarra: the country's mood will be happy, 
c 16'. If the Strange star comes close to the Crab: the ruler will die. 
c 1 7'. If the Strange star comes close to Jupiter: in that year the king will die and [ . . . ] 
c 22'. If the Strange star comes close to the star of Anu: destruction of the land [. . .] 
19'. If Eturammi, the messenger of Annumtu, comes close to Bootes: in [that?] year [...] 
20'. If the Star of Dignity, the messenger of Tispak, comes close to the Scorpion: for 

three years there will be [. . .] and cough and phlegm [. . .] 
21'. If the ... star, the messenger of Bau, comes close to the Eagle: the king will die, [...] 

will be in the land, the arable land will prosper, variant: [. . .] 
22'. If the Abundant One, the messenger of Ninlil, comes close to the She-Goat (Lyra): a 

great king [...], there will be [. . .] in the land, there will be sweet work-song in the 

land, there will be (plentiful) cattle and grain in the land. 
23'. If the Stag, the messenger of the Pleiades, comes close to Orion: there will be 

salinity in the land, and the Seven gods [. . .] 

12 Ruling in a and b. 

" Or r E n . 

14 Restored from Sm 1267:6 (BPO 2 Text VI). 


Erica Reiner 

24'. If the Raven, variant: Regulus, the messenger of the Red star comes close to the Star 

of Eridu, the arable fields in the entire land [...] 
b 1 2'. [If . . . ] comes close to the Bow: the crop of the land will prosper, ... for three years 

there will be rains and floods, the linseed [...] 
25'. If the Great star comes close to the Pleiades: the Seven gods [. . .] 
26'. If the Great star stands in the middle of the Moon: [. . .] 
27'. If a Great star falls: the prince [. . .] 
28'. If a star' becomes visible: famine of the cattle, the king [. . .] 

(Remainder fragmentary and no longer lists TE omens) 

Protases Containing TE 

The following list of protases is arranged alphabetically according to the 
name (usually the Sumerogram) of the celestial object (excluding planets) 
which is the subject of the phenomenon expressed by the verb tehu, 'to 
come close,' mostly written with the Sumerogram TE. Identifications of 
the celestial objects are according to Hunger-Pingree MUL.APIN. 15 If an 
explanation of the phenomenon is added in the text, it is also included 

If MUL.A.MUSEN ana MUL.NUKUSU TE <iGUD.UD ana ^Dil-bat [...] 
"if the Eagle comes close to the Tireless one" 
K 2329:4, with explanation: "Mercury [. . .] to Venus" 

1 MUL.A.MUSEN ana MUL.MUL TE MUL a-hu-u & Sal-bat-a-nu 

"if the Eagle comes close to the Pleiades," with explanation: "the Hostile 
star is Mars" 

R. Borger, "Keilschrifttexte verschiedenen Inhalts," in Studies Bohl 41:9' 
(LB 1321); K 5713 + 7129+T5'; K 2330:16 (EAE 57) 

"if the Crab comes close to the Plow" 
Hunger, SAA 8 452; K 6645 ii 6'; K 2209:8' ff. 


"if the Crab comes close to the Strange star" (i.e., Mars) 
81-7-27 137:2 

1 MUL.APIN u za-ru-u ana MUL.GIR.TAB TE.MES 

"if the Plow and the Seed funnel come close to the Scorpion" 
Rm 308 r. 10; K 12815:5' 


"if the Plow comes close to the Scorpion" 
Hunger, SAA 8 219 and 502 

15 Hermann Hunger and David Pingree, MUL.APIN. An Astronomical Compendium in Cunei- 
form (AfO Beih. 24; Horn, Austria: Verlag Ferdinand Berger & Sonne, 1989). 


If Mars Comes Close to Pegasus ... 

"if the Field comes close to the Plow" 

K 1522 r. 1; K 6415:19; also, with explanations: d Salbatanu ana 
MUL.AB.SIN ulu ana MUL.AS.GAN IE-ma, "Mars comes close to the 
Furrow or to the Field," Rm 487:2M' and dupls., and A Sal-bat-a-nu ina SA 
KUN [. . .] lu-u ina SA KUN.MES [. . .], "Mars [. . .] inside the tail of [. . .] or 
inside the Tails (i.e., Pisces)" K 2329:1 1 f. 


"if the Star of Dignity (Corona Borealis) comes close to the Scorpion" 
K2170r. 31; K 6415 r. 8' 

"if the Bow reaches the Eagle" 

K 57 13+: 18, with explanation: MUL Salbatanu ana MUL.AB.SIN TE-ma, 
"Mars comes close to the Furrow" 


"if the Kidney (Puppis) comes close to a planet" 

K 2990:29 and dupl. K 9489:8' (EAE 55:25), wr. it-te-hi, with explanation: 

"Mercury in Aquarius comes close to Saturn" K 2064:6 

1 MUL.BIR ana MUL.MUL TE(-Ai) 

"if the Kidney comes close to the Pleiades" 
K 2990:30 and dupl. K 9489:9' (EAE 55:26) 


"[if the Kidney (or: the Eagle)] comes close to the Pleiades" 
K 13930 r. 7; Borger, Studies Bohl 41:9' 

1 MUL.BIR ana MUL.UDU.BAD it-te-hi 
"if the Kidney comes close to a planet" 
K 2064:6 

1 MUL E-tu-ra-am-mi SUKKAL d A-nu-ni-tum ana MUL.SUPA TE 

"if the Cattle Pen, the messenger of the goddess Annunltum, comes close to 


BM 47799:19 and 

U MUL E-tu-ra-me SUKKAL MUL A-nu-ni-tum ana MUL.SUPA TE 
K 3780 (+)K 6227:8' 


"if the star of Ea comes close to the Field" 
Rm 308:26 

1 MUL & E-a ana MUL A Pap-sukkal TE 

"if the star of Ea comes close to Papsukkal" 
Rm 308:27 


Erica Reiner 

1 MUL.EN.TE.NA.BAR.HUM ana 15 MUL Ni-ri TE 
"if Centaurus comes close to the right side of the Yoke" 
LKU 104:9' and dupl. K 8648:7' (EAE 55:39) 

[H] MUL.GIR.TAB ana IGI Sin TE-ma DU-iz 

"if the Scorpion comes close to the front of the Moon and stops" 
Hunger, SAA 8 430 


"if the Abundant One, the messenger of Ninlil, comes close to the 



U MUL. d KAL SUKKAL d Ba-u ana MUL.A.MUSEN TE [. . .] 

"if the .... star, the messenger of Bau, comes close to the Eagle" 
K 5894:7' (?) 


"if the Fish (Piscis Austrinus) comes close to the Field" 
K 7006 ii 2; Rm 308:7; K 6415 r.; K 6478 r. 6; K 7945:12' 

U MUL.KU 6 ana MUL Zibanltu TE 

"if the Fish comes close to the Scales" 
Rm 308:8; Sm 1154:4; K 7945:14' 

"if the Fish comes close to Orion" 
Sm 1154:5 


"if the Fish comes close to the Bow" 

K 2329:1; K 7621:15; K 2071 ii 6; Hunger, SAA 8 325 

\ MUL.KU6 ana KU6 tap-pi-su TE 

"if the Fish comes close to its fellow Fish" 
K 6415:18, K 2310:12' and dups. 


"if the King (Regulus) comes close to the Wolf" 
81-2-4,429:5; K 1522+: 11'; LBAT 1543:10' 

U MUL.LUGAL ana MUL [...], 

with commentary: d Sal-bat-a-nu [...] 
K 2209: If 

"if the Wagon comes close to the Star of Marduk" 

| MUL.MAR.GID.DA ana MUL. ""MUL" 1 TE 
"if the Wagon comes close to the Pleiades'"' 
K 3780 ii 2' 


If Mars Comes Close to Pegasus . . . 

[1 MUL.MU.BU.KES.DJA'' ana MUL.SU.GI TE A Dil-bat KI A En-me-sar-ra 

"if the Hitched Yoke comes close to the Old Man," with explanation: 

"Venus rises with Enmesarra" 

K 2329:16 

[1 MUL.MU.BU.KES]. DA ana MUL.APIN TE & Dil-bat ana d GUD.UD TE-ma 
"if the Hitched Yoke comes close to the Plow," with explanation: "Venus 
comes close to Mercury" 
K 2329:17 

[%\ MUL.MUL ana Sin TE 

"if the Pleiades come close to the Moon" 
K 12606:2 


"if the Pleiades come close to the Field" 

Sm 197:8; K 6415:22; K 5713+:10' and dupl. K 2177+:13; with 

explanation: Salbatanu ana MUL.AB.SIN TE-raa, "Mars comes close to 

the Furrow" 


1 MUL d MUS ana MUL.AL.LUL TE d Sal-bat-a-nu ana MUL [. . .] 

"if the Snake (Hydra) comes close to the Crab," with explanation: "Mars 
[...] to [...]" 
K 2329:28 

| MUL NIN.MAH ana MUL.KAK.SI.SA TE A Dil-bat ana d GUD.UD IGI.B[F 

...]ma-/aTE-wIGI.B[I ...] 

"if the star of Ninmah comes close to the Arrow," with explanation: "Venus 
[. . .] her face 7 toward Mercury, as much as she came close, . . ." 
K 2329:26 

"if Orion comes close to the Pleiades" 
K 3072:3; K 3780 ii 25 

[1 M]UL.SU.PA ana MUL.GUDAN.NA TE ^Sal-bat-a-nu ina SA MU[L . . . 
"if Bootes comes close to the Bull of Heaven (Taurus)," with explanation: 
"Mars [...] inside [...]" 
K 2329:2 

1 MUL.SU.PA ana MUL.MUL TE . . . d SAGME.GAR ina MUL.MULD[U-wa] 
"if Bootes comes close to the Pleiades," with explanation: 'Jupiter stands in 
the Pleiades' 
K 6519:7 (EAE 55 Comm.) 

[1 MUL.UD.K]A.DU 8 .A ana MUL.KU 6 TE 

"if the Panther (Cygnus) comes close to the Fish" 
K 7977:5' 


Erica Reiner 


"if the Raven (Corvus), variant: the King, the messenger of the Red Star 

comes close to the Star of Eridu" 


[1 MUL.U.SE+IRGA.MUSEN ana] A Sul-pa-e-a TE 
"if the Raven comes close to Jupiter" 
K 2330:3 (EAE 57) 

"if the Raven comes close to the Star of Eridu" 

K 2330:14 (EAE 57), cf. Rm 415; K 3780 ii 9', ii 19', wr. UL.UG5.GA 
Borger, Studies Bohl 41 :26' 

[1 M]UL.UG 5 .GA ana UL.KAL.NE TE 
"if the Raven comes close to Vega'"" 
81-7-27,137:25, K 8000:10, K 1522 r. 6(?) 

| MUL.UGs.GA ana ^Sul-pa-e TE 

"if the Raven comes close to Jupiter" 
K 7129:21 


"if the Raven, the messenger of . . . comes close to the Star of Eridu" 
Borger, Studies Bohl 41:26' 

If MUL.UR.BAR.RA ana MUL.UD.KA.DUg.A TE A Sal-bat-a-nu ina SA MUL 

"if the Wolf comes close to the Panther" 

K 2329:7, with explanation: "Mars [. . .] inside [...]" 

"if the Wolf comes close to the Lion" 
K 1522:10' 

If MUL.UZ ana MUL.UR.BAR.RA T[E ...] 

"if the She-Goat (Lyra) comes close to the Wolf" 
Sm 1504:5b 

If MUL.UZ ana MUL AL.LUL TE-hi . . . MUL.UZ d Dil-bat 
"if the She-Goat comes close to the Crab," 
with explanation: "the She-Goat is Venus" 
Hunger, SAA 8 175; 

with explanation: "Venus comes close to the Crab" 
Hunger, SAA 8 247 

If MUL.UZ ana MUL.AS.GAN TE [. . .] 

"if the She-Goat comes close to the Field" 
K 2990:18 


If Mars Comes Close to Pegasus ... 

U MUL Zi-ba-ni-tum ana AGA A A-nim (variant writing: AGA.AN.NA) TE 
"if the Balance comes close to the Crown of Anu" 
K 3914 r. 9' (EAE 55), variant from K 3072:4' 

[| MUL . . . ana] MUL.SUPA TE. 

"if [. . .] comes close to Bootes," with explanation: d Salbatanu ana MUL 
d Marduk TE-ma, "Mars comes close to the Star of Marduk" 
Rm 487:5' 


"[if the Lion'] comes close to the Panther," with explanation d Salbatanu 
ana MUL.UD.KA.[DUsA TE-ma], "Mars comes close to the Panther" 
K7977:8'f.,cf.K 14366:5' 

[1 MUL.UD.K]A.DU 8 A ana MUL.KU 6 TE 
"if the Panther comes close to the Fish" 

with explanation d Salbatanu ana MULA[B.SIN TE-ma], "Mars comes 
close to the Furrow" K 7977:5'-7' d Sal-bat-a-nu ana d GUDUD TE-ma, 
"Mars comes close to Mercury" K 2329: 15 

K 7169:3' 

Note the stylistic(?) variant, with inversion, as in the following omens, all 

referring to planets: 

Dilbat . . . UL (. . .)TE-si, "Venus, star x comes close to (TE) her" passim 


"a planet (Mercury?), the Kidney star comes close to (TE) it" 
K 2246+ 64 

| MUL.UDUBAD SA 5 ana k-su MUL MI it-te-hi 

"the Red planet, the Black star comes close to its side" 

K 2246+:49 

and, probably said of the planet Mars: 

U MUL.EN.TE.NA.BAR.HUM MUL MAN-raa KUR : it-hi-su (variant: TE-su) 
"Centaurus: Mars 7 reaches, variant: comes close to (TE) it" 
EAE 55:43, and 

"the Crab: Mars'- comes close to it" 
Rm 308 r. 29 





John F. Robertson 

As relatively recent generations of radio audiences, movie-goers, and science- 
fiction readers can attest, few themes grip the human imagination with more 
fear and fascination than invasion by aliens: strange, sometimes inhuman be- 
ings from distant, mysterious places. ' It should hardly be surprising then that, 
of the events that have been identified throughout history as having triggered 
the collapse of civilized societies and the fall of great states, few have been 
found more compelling than barbarian invaders and migrating hordes. Those 
identified as barbarians are reviled as the epitome of "Otherness": hordes or 
"waves" whose inexorable progress and mindless depredations bring down 
long-established states and even seem poised to quash the existence of civi- 
lization itself. Almost invariably, they are cast as virtually devoid of humanity 
and of the values and qualities that govern the existence of "civilized" human 
beings. Over the course of European history barbarian invaders loom large 
and menacing — among them, the Goths, the Vandals, the Huns (the "Scourge 
of God"), and the Norsemen. 

One can compile for southwest Asia — or the Near East — as well an 
impressive list of barbarian invaders whose arrivals portended the demise 

* Earlier versions of this contribution were presented at the annual meeting of the American 
Historical Association, Chicago, 111., January 1995 and at the Rencontre Assyriologique 
Internationale, Cambridge, Mass., July 1998. 

1 In a recent article discussing the 19 th - and 20 ,h -century perceptions of the "Sea Peoples'" 
invasions of the late 13 th - early 12 th century BCE, Neil Asher Silberman (citing Cecil D. Eby, 
The Road to Armageddon: The Martial Spirit in English Popular Literature, 1870—1914 
[Durham, N.C. : Duke University Press, 1987] and I. F. Clarke, Voices Prophesying War: Future 
Wars, 1763-3749 [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992]) notes how the European reading 
public of late Victorian and Edwardian times was "transfixed by a certain genre of popular 
fiction" in which "vivid, detailed invasion fantasies gave voice to the shared fears of imperial 
competition, a wildly escalating arms race, and massive migrations gone completely out of 
control." In England alone, people devoured novels featuring stories of invasion from Germany, 
France, Russia, China, Japan, America, even the planet Mars. See N.A. Silberman, "The 
Sea Peoples, the Victorians, and us: modern social ideology and changing archaeological 
interpretations of the Late Bronze Age collapse," in Mediterranean Peoples in Transition, 
Thirteenth to Early Tenth Centuries BCE (ed. S. Gitin, A. Mazar, and E. Stern; Jerusalem: 
Israel Exploration Society, 1998) 271. That the public imagination can be transfixed by the 
fear of alien invasion was abundantly clear on 30 October 1938, when Orson Welles' Mercury 
Theater on the Air performed a radio broadcast of an adaptation of H. G Wells' War of the 
Worlds. The broadcast caused mass panic among susceptible listeners who were convinced that 
the Earth was being invaded by aliens from the planet Mars. 


John F. Robertson 

of long-established states, even great empires. Among the more salient 
examples are Hulegu Khan's Mongol horde that devastated Baghdad in 
1258 and extinguished the once-great Abbasid caliphate, and the Turko- 
Mongol armies of Timur-leng that brutalized Levantine cities and temporarily 
halted the rise of the Ottomans by defeating the armies of Sultan Bayezid at 
Ankara in 1402. The 7th-century invasions of the Muslim warriors from the 
relative backwater of the Arabian Peninsula, and their ensuing conquest of 
Byzantine Syria and Egypt and the Sassanid Persian state, were undoubtedly 
construed as the work of uncouth barbarians by the imperial authorities in 
Constantinople and Ctesiphon. 

In these instances, though, one might ponder the mutability of the qual- 
ities that warranted characterizing these groups as "barbarians." Although 
they entered the Near Eastern historical stage as warrior Bedouin, the Arabs 
rapidly adapted the administrative apparatus of the empires they had con- 
quered and as the great caliphs of the Umayyad and Abbasid lines, ruled 
great empires whose powers and "civilized" sophistication were envied and 
feared by contemporary Europeans. Likewise, Hulegu's Mongols eventually 
settled down, converted to Islam, and ruled the flourishing Il-khanid state; 
for that matter, the Mongol khanates in general established a pax Mongolica 
during which caravans plied the Great Silk Road with reasonable safety, mer- 
chant vessels sailed the Indian Ocean, and the Near East and Europe were 
supplied with the goods of the exotic East. As Bennet Bronson has noted: 
"Definitions [of barbarians] are bound to be disputed: some might feel, for 
instance, that the later state-building achievements of the Arabs and Mon- 
gols qualify them as proto-states rather than barbarians even in the 640s and 
1200s, in spite of their lack of bureaucracy, laws, taxes, currency, monopoly 
on the legitimate use of force, or most other statelike attributes." 2 To the 
5th-century BCE Greeks, who as we know coined the term, a barbarian was 
someone who spoke "barbar" — i.e., who did not speak Greek. In one modern 
English dictionary, "barbarian" is defined as "of or relating to a land culture, 
or people alien and usually believed to be inferior to one's own." The same 
dictionary defines "barbaric" as describing a person who possesses "a cul- 
tural level more complex than primitive savagery but less sophisticated than 
advanced civilization," as well as "a bizarre, primitive, or unsophisticated 
quality." On the other hand a recent examination of the role of barbarians 
in the collapse of states argues for a comparatively limited definition of a 
"barbarian" as "simply a member of a political unit that is in direct contact 
with a state but that is not itself a state." Evidently, then, "barbarian-ness" 
lies in the eye of the beholder. 

2 Bennet Bronson, "The Role of Barbarians in the Fall of States," in The Collapse of Ancient 
States and Civilizations (ed. N. Yoffee and G. L. Cowgill; Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 


Nomads, Barbarians, and Societal Collapse 

Arguably just as traumatic as the Arab and Mongol invasions in the 
history of the Near East were other "barbarian" invasions/migrations that 
occurred during antiquity, which will be defined here as the era ending 
with the Arab conquests of the 7th century CE. An exhaustive listing of all 
of those episodes will not be attempted here, although one might cite the 
Hyksos "invasion" and usurpation in Egypt in the 17th century BCE and 
the arrival of the Scythians in Mesopotamia in the 7th century BCE as two 
that the ancient sources lament more famously. In general, we can say that 
these invasions/migrations often contributed to and at least indirectly caused 
the collapse of powerful, well-established structures of political domination 
and administration. Unfortunately, one of the endemic occupational hazards 
of studying the ancient Near East is that our knowledge of the specific 
events of these invasions, and of the identity and origins of the invaders 
themselves, is often compromised by the cryptic and fragmentary nature of 
the sources upon which we must rely. A specific case in point concerns 
what is perhaps the earliest definably "barbarian" invasion in historical 
record: the irruption of an evidently pastoral nomadic (often described as 
"tribal") group called the Guti, or Gutians, from the Zagros Mountains into 
Mesopotamia sometime around 2200 BCE. In traditional historiography, their 
invasion was regarded as having effectively ended the power of the imperial 
dynasty of Sargon and Naram-Sin of Akkad that had dominated much of 
Iran, Syria, and northern Iraq, as well as the great cities of ancient Sumer, 
since around 2350 BCE. The Gutians went on to establish in Mesopotamia 
a rather imperfectly understood dynasty that evidently lasted anywhere from 
50 to 150 years. Interestingly, even though the Gutians are described in 
ancient sources as the barbaric deliverers of divine retribution and in even 
relatively recent accounts, as barbarous agents of destruction and political 
decentralization, the few royal inscriptions that remain to us from what one 
observer termed their "feeble and sporadic rule" evince, toward the end of 
that rule, a traditional Mesopotamian style. 3 In other words, as seems to have 
so often happened in the wake of barbarian invasions, the invaders seem to 
have become acculturated. 

Of all the episodes of barbarian invasion that have been claimed to have 
shaped the history of the ancient Near East, however, two in particular have 
received heightened attention in the recent decades: (1) the invasions of the 
Eastern Mediterranean by the so-called "Sea Peoples" at the end of the Late 
Bronze Age, during the late 13th — early 12th century BCE, and (2) the 
incursions of the people known as Amorites into Mesopotamia, Syria, and 
Palestine during the late 3rd and early 2nd millenniums BCE. 

3 C. J. Gadd, "The Dynasty of Agade and the Gutian Invasion," in Early History of the Middle 
East (vol. 1, part 2 of The Cambridge Ancient History; ed. I. E.S. Edwards, C.J. Gadd, and 
N. G.L. Hammond; 3 rd ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 417-63. 


John F. Robertson 

Two scholarly works dealing with the Late Bronze Age invasions of the 
Sea Peoples vividly and succinctly assess their impact. Robert Drews refers to 
these invasions simply as "the Catastrophe," "one of history's most frightful 
turning points," and "arguably the worst disaster in ancient history, even more 
calamitous than the collapse of the western Roman Empire." 4 According to 
the Egyptologist Donald Redford the migrations of the Sea Peoples "changed 
the face of the ancient world more than any other single event before the time 
of Alexander the Great." 5 Our Egyptian sources for these events inform us 
that on several occasions clustering at about 1230 and 1 180 BCE (the precise 
dates are the subject of considerable disagreement owing to the continuing 
uncertainties of Egyptian New Kingdom chronology), the Egyptians were 
hard pressed to fend off invaders that comprised a number of distinct groups 
whom they describe, on one occasion, as "northerners, from all lands," many 
of which lay beyond the Mediterranean, what the Egyptians called "the Great 
Green." Those Egyptian sources tell us that by 1180 BCE Hatti, the Bronze 
Age Hittite kingdom in Asia Minor, as well as several powerful polities 
along the Eastern Mediterranean, had been laid waste, presumably by these 
barbarians. Since the late 19th century, a number of scholars have attempted 
to identify precisely who these marauders were, whence they came, and 
where they eventually settled. Their movements have been linked to various 
early Greek etiological myths and most notably to the allied Greek attack 
on Troy recounted in Homer's Iliad. That many of the questions raised by 
the Egyptian accounts remain unsettled is evidenced in R. Drews, The End 
of the Bronze Age, wherein he proposes as an intriguing (and by no means 
universally accepted) explanation for the invaders' success their supposed 
mastery of new military technology. 

The other episode of barbarian invasion alluded to above was the Amor- 
ite incursions into Mesopotamia and Syria during the late 3rd and early 
2nd millennium BCE. Traditionally, the Amorites were identified as one of 
several "waves" of invading "Semitic" nomads — along with the later Ara- 
maeans and Arabs, and the earlier Akkadians — whose irruptions out of the 
inhospitable Arabian desert where they were nursed wrought havoc on the 
long-established state structures of the ancient Near East. The Amorites, 
specifically, were identified as perhaps the principal cause of the decline 
and collapse of the "Neo-Sumerian" state ruled by the Third Dynasty of 
Ur. By approximately 2100 BCE, this dynasty had established its hegemony 
in Lower Mesopotamia and soon developed a highly centralized imperial 
administrative apparatus that could successfully establish tributary relations 

4 Robert Drews, The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 
B.C. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995) 3, 4. 

5 Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton: Princeton 
University Press, 1992) 244. 


Nomads, Barbarians, and Societal Collapse 

with regions in northern Mesopotamia, northwestern Syria, and western Iran. 
That pressure from the Amorites upon the administration of the Ur III state 
played an important role in its fatal weakening has come to be accepted by 
most scholars in the field. What I will focus on in the discussion to follow is 
the perception of the Amorites as barbarians and the impact that perception 
has perhaps had on our reconstruction of the political and social history of 
ancient Mesopotamia during the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BCE. 

Through the mid-20 th century, Assyriologists and other historians of an- 
tiquity consistently characterized the Amorites almost exclusively as pastoral, 
nomadic, and tribal — all traits that would have led the sophisticated scribes 
of the city-based palace establishments to regard them, essentially, as bar- 
barians. Crucial to any examination of the Amorites' identity and historical 
role, then, is the broader issue of the perception of the role and impact of 
pastoral nomads in ancient Near Eastern society. 

One of the hallmarks of the study of ancient Near Eastern societies in 
recent decades has been the evolving realization that any valid reconstruc- 
tion of the dynamics of those societies must take into account the non-urban, 
semi-sedentary, or non-sedentary pastoral and nomadic elements within the 
population. 6 Unfortunately — although, given the scribes' prejudices, surely 
expectedly — the vast majority of the recovered textual sources has been 
consistently uninformative about these people. Among the more notable ex- 
ceptions have been the early Old Babylonian letters from Tell Asmar 7 and the 
archives discovered in the ruins of the palace at Mari. 8 Comprising both the 
administrative records of the palace bureaucracy and letters to and from the 
rulers at Mari, the Mari archives have long been recognized as constituting 
our single most valuable source for the political history, interstate relations, 
and social configuration of ancient Mesopotamia and Syria for the early sec- 
ond millennium BCE. In particular, the Mari texts document the activities 
of non-urban, so-called "tribal" groups, some of them troublesome, with 
whom the Mari palace administration had to deal. The data gleaned from 
these texts have spawned a number of important works on pastoral nomads 
and their role in early Mesopotamian society. Among the more important 
were two published in the late 1950s by J.-R. Kupper 9 that incorporated three 
fundamental assertions that guided many scholars of his generation: (1) no- 

6 See recently, for example, G. Van Driel, "The Role of Nomadism in a Model of Ancient 
Mesopotamian Society and Economy," JEOL 35-36 (1997-2000) 85-101. 

7 Robert M. Whiting, Old Babylonian Letters from Tell Asmar (AS 22; Chicago: The Oriental 
Institute, 1987). 

8 See most recently, Jean-Marie Durand, Documents epistolaires du palais de Mari, tome II 
(LAPO 17; Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1998). 

9 J.-R. Kupper, Les nomades en Mesopotamie au temps des mis de Mari (Paris: Societe 
d'Edition "Les Belles Lettres," 1957); "Le role des nomades dans l'histoire de la Mesopotamie 
ancienne," JESHO 2 (1959) 1 13-27. 


John F. Robertson 

madism must precede sedentarization, which meant that the tribal groups 
encountered in historical texts such as the Mari archives must be in various 
stages of evolution from an original nomadic state to eventual sedentariza- 
tion; (2) conflict between nomads and sedentary groups was and is "the 
normal condition — a historical constant;" and (3) sociopolitical change in 
the ancient Near East must be understood largely in terms of the impact of 
nomads upon the areas occupied by sedentary peoples. 10 Kupper's work, in 
turn, spawned a series of seminal articles by M. B. Rowton during the late 
1960s and 1970s. 11 In these works, Rowton proposed the model of what he 
termed "dimorphic society," characterized by a nomad/sedentary symbiosis 
that was marked by mutual hostility and mutual need and that was reflected in 
ancient Mesopotamian history by episodes of "dimorphic oscillation" with 
regard to the "relative importance of nomad and sedentary, tribe and town." At 
the time, Rowton 's works marked a major advance, in that they played down 
previously held notions of unrelenting enmity between industrious urban 
dwellers and barbaric Semitic nomads and instead incorporated the insights 
from a growing body of ethnographic literature documenting the symbiotic 
relationship between sedentarists and pastoral nomads in Near Eastern pop- 
ulations. Around the same time, Robert M. Adams likewise criticized the 
then-prevailing overemphasis on the polar dichotomy and presumed hostility 
between urban-dwellers and pastoral semi-nomads. Instead he preferred to 
focus on what he termed "the continuum of intergrading forms between these 
two ideal-typical constructs," 12 with the relatively mobile semi-nomadic el- 
ements, practicing as they did a balanced subsistence base that incorporated 
both herding and limited cultivation, providing a socio-economic resilience 
that contrasted with the more stable, static subsistence base of the urban 
sedentarists. As Adams further pointed out, the records produced by these 
urban dwellers generally tended to ignore the existence of reciprocal eco- 
nomic ties with these semi-nomads, preferring to relegate them to the status 
of barbarians. 13 

More recent investigators have tended to incorporate this idea of con- 
tinuum, and although they have given Rowton due credit for furthering our 
understanding of early Mesopotamian social relations, they have found his 
dimorphic-society model inadequate to explain the complex data derived 

10 J. T. Luke, "Pastoralism and Politics in the Mari Period" (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 
1965) 19. 

11 M.B. Rowton, "Urban Autonomy in a Nomadic Environment," JNES 32 (1973) 201-15; 
"Enclosed Nomadism," JESHO 17 (1974) 1-30; "Dimorphic Structure and Topology," OA 15 
( 1 976) 1 7-3 1 ; and "Dimorphic Structure and the Parasocial Element," JNES 36 ( 1 977) 1 8 1-98 . 

12 12 R. M. Adams, "The Study of Ancient Mesopotamian Settlement Patterns and the Problem 
of Urban Origins," Sumer 25 (1970) 119. 

13 R. M. Adams, "Strategies of Maximization, Stability, and Resilience in Mesopotamian 
Society, Settlement, and Agriculture," PAPS 122 (1978) 334. 


Nomads, Barbarians, and Societal Collapse 

from Mesopotamian texts, specifically citing his tendency to "dichotomize 
socioeconomic relations." This criticism is echoed in a slightly later work of 
Adams, in which he characterized Rowton's pastoralist/cultivator distinction 
as too polarized and the actual nature of interaction as more in flux. On the 
basis of the ethnographic evidence, Adams argued: 

Predominant emphasis on husbandry or cultivation frequently must have been 
a shifting, pragmatic decision. Across the frontiers of cultivation there usually 
must have extended a structural and ethnic continuum, with the acculturation of 
particular groups proceeding backward and forward between nomadization and 
sedentarization according to circumstances. If so, the main effect of semiseden- 
tary groups upon the predominantly urbanized body politic of the lower Euphrates 
core lands . . . was their embodiment of a practical and at times even preferable 
alternative for an oppressed rural peasantry and its counterparts in the semiurban- 
ized working force, upon whose continuing, docile productivity the whole edifice 
of power, privilege, tradition, and ceremony that was lodged in cities ultimately 
depended. 14 

Obviously, then, the perception of the pastoral nomadic component of ancient 
Near Eastern society has come to reflect an increasingly complex, sophisti- 
cated, nuanced image, one that has evolved significantly beyond the image of 
barbarian swarms or "waves" that was current fifty years ago — and that, as 
we shall see presently, the cuneiform scribes of ancient Mesopotamia, with 
their profound bias towards the concerns and affairs of "civilized" urban 
dwellers and their institutions, certainly tended to foster. 

This perception of pastoral nomads as barbarians likewise developed 
early in European thought and has persisted for thousands of years. Brent 
Shaw has elucidated the historical development of an "ideology" regard- 
ing pastoral nomads that was characterized by a perception of them as the 
ultimate barbarians, directly antagonistic to civilized sedentary agricultural- 
ists. Shaw traces this development from Homer's depiction of the Cyclopes 
in the Odyssey, to Herodotus' description of the Scythians, to Ammianus 
Marcellinus' description of the Huns, and on throughout antiquity and into 
the 1 8th-century works of Edward Gibbon and Adam Smith. By that time, 
however, pastoral nomads had come to be replaced on the lowest rung of the 
barbarian-to-civilized ladder by the recently discovered hunter-gatherers of 
the New World, the so-called American Indians. 15 Given the millennia-long 
persistence of so denigrating an ideology, the fact that scholars' perceptions 
of pastoral nomads of the ancient Near East have softened only relatively 
recently is surely understandable. 

14 R.M. Adams, Heartland of Cities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981) 136. 

15 Brent Shaw, '"Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk': the Ancient Mediterranean Ideology of 
the Pastoral Nomad," Ancient Society 13-14 (1982-83) 5-31. 


John F. Robertson 

With specific regard to the history of ancient southwest Asia, the "bar- 
baric" invaders who undoubtedly have benefited the most in this evolution 
of perceptions are the people whom we call the Amorites. Individuals or 
groups identifiable as Amorites begin to appear in cuneiform records from 
southern Mesopotamia as early as about 3000 BCE. They are identified in 
cuneiform records by a specific designator, the Sumerian term MAR.TU, 
which corresponds to the Akkadian term Amurru, hence "Amorite." This 
term came to mean "west" and refers to speakers of a West Semitic lan- 
guage who came from the west of Sumer and Akkad — at least, as well as 
the city-dwelling Sumerians and Akkadians could deduce. That the latter 
tended to view Amorites as more or less alien or "other" is evident on sev- 
eral counts. First, as was just noted they identified Amorites with a specific, 
evidently ethnic designation to distinguish them from the rest of the popu- 
lation. Second references to Amorites in Mesopotamian literature tend to 
ridicule their manners and customs. This is vividly reflected in the Sume- 
rian myth known as "The Marriage of Martu," named for the eponymous 
deity closely identified with the Amorites. 16 In this story, Martu, having 
defeated a number of fighters in personal combat, refuses the silver and 
jewels offered him as a reward by the god Numusda (a local god of the 
Sumerian city Kazallu/Ninab) but instead demands in marriage the hand 
of Numusda 's daughter, the goddess Adgar-kidug. At the end of the story, 
Adgar-kidug's girlfriend tries to deter her from marrying Martu, warning 

Now listen, their hands are destructive and their features are those of monkeys; 
he is one who eats what Nanna forbids and does not show reverence. They never 
stop roaming about ... they are an abomination to the gods' dwellings. Their 
ideas are confused; they cause only disturbance. He is clothed in sack-leather . . . 
lives in a tent, is exposed to wind and rain, and cannot properly recite prayers. 
He lives in the mountains and ignores the places of gods, digs up truffles in the 
foothills, does not know how to bend the knee, and eats raw flesh. He has no 
house during his life, and when he dies he will not be carried to a burial place. 
My girlfriend why would you marry Martu? 17 

16 Indeed, Klein describes Martu as a "deified chieftain" or sheikh, and notes the warlike 
demeanor and pastoral domain consistently associated with him in Sumerian literature. See 
J. Klein, "The God Martu in Sumerian Literature" in Sumerian Gods and Their Representations 
(ed. I. L. Finkel and M. J. Geller; CM 7; Groningen: Styx, 1997) 109. 

17 17 Translation of "The Marriage of Martu" from J. A. Black et al., The Electronic Text Corpus 
of Sumerian Literature, ( Oxford, 1 998-. See also the detailed 
discussion of this text, with other discussion of the god Martu in Sumerian literature, in Klein, 
"The God Martu." 


Nomads, Barbarians, and Societal Collapse 

Despite these warnings, Adgar-kidug asserts, "I will marry Martu!" — 
surely an ancient reflection of the fact that nomads and sedentarists, regardless 
of their differences, are dependent on each other. 18 

That the Amorites were perceived as more than crude bumpkins, indeed 
as an actual threat to the city-dwellers of Sumer, is also evident in the 
cuneiform sources. Thus, in one of his inscriptions the Ur III king Su- 
Sin refers to Amorites as "vandals." 19 Undoubtedly the most celebrated 
attestation to the severity of the Amorite threat in Ur III times is Su-Sin's 
year name that commemorates the construction of a great defensive project 
that was called "the wall that keeps away the Tidnum," Tidnum being another, 
possibly even older name associated with the Amorites. Finally, some works 
of Sumerian literature reveal a perception of Amorites as a threat. In the 
Sumerian tale of the heroes Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, Enmerkar states that, 
after the god Enki had cut the reeds and drained the marshes of Unug, "for 
fifty years I [Enmerkar] built, for fifty years I gave judgments. Then the Martu 
peoples, who know no agriculture, arose in all of Sumer and Akkad. But the 
wall of Unug extended out across the desert like a bird net." 20 Similarly, the 
Lamentation over the Destruction of Sumer and Ur, which was composed in 
the wake of the collapse of the Third Dynasty of Ur around 2000 BCE, tells 
of how destruction was wrought by the "Tidnumites" who "daily strapped 
the mace to their loins." 21 

Compounding the effects of the disparaging attitudes so evident in the 
ancient sources was the approach taken toward Amorites and nomads in 
general by many historians of the late 19th and 20th centuries. In particular, 
many of them subscribed to one or more of the following notions: (1) 
that the Amorites, as Semitic nomads, were one of a series of (rather 
foreboding-sounding) "waves" of migrations that emanated from the Arabian 
Peninsula — an image that lends itself quite easily to a perception of them as 
marauding hordes, but a reconstruction that much current scholarship finds 
extremely tenuous, at best; (2) the Amorites, as Semitic nomads, could best 
be understood as analogous in their lifestyles and customs to the bedouin 
of Arabia — an analogy for which earlier scholars had no real evidence and 
which, we now know, is rendered even more questionable by the circumstance 
that the Arab bedouin are camel nomads whereas the Amorites, to the extent 
that they were nomadic, were herders of sheep and goats, which poses a very 

18 As also pointed out by G. Schwartz, "Pastoral Nomadism in Ancient Western Asia," CANE 

19 Sum. lii ha-lam-ma; M. Civil's translation, as cited by P. Michalowski, The Lamentation 
over the Destruction of Sumer and Ur (MC 1; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1989) 93. 

20 Translation of "Enmerkar and Lugalbanda" from J. A. Black et al., Electronic Text Corpus 
of Sumerian Literature; see also J. Zarins, "Early Pastoral Nomadism and the Settlement of 
Lower Mesopotamia," BASOR 280 (1990) 31-65. 

21 Michalowski, Lamentation 53:256. 


John F. Robertson 

different set of constraints; and (3) that the Amorites, as Semitic nomads, 
were perceived as precisely that — as Semites and as nomads. As was noted 
earlier, by the early 20th century, nomads in general had been relegated to 
the second-lowest rung on the barbarism-to-civilization ladder. Moreover, at 
the time when some of the earliest standard treatments of the early history 
of ancient Mesopotamia were being written, anti-Semitism and theories of 
racial superiority were broadly current, both among the general public and 
as Martin Bernal very effectively pointed out in the first volume of his Black 
Athena, among ancient historians. Many of these early accounts, even if not 
blatantly anti-Semitic, repeatedly couch their discussion of the dynamics of 
early Mesopotamian civilization in terms of a supposed conflict between 
the Sumerian and Semitic races, with the Sumerians invariably cast as the 
bearers of true civilization. 22 

To recapitulate then, owing to a distinctly pro-city-dweller bias in the 
primary cuneiform documentation, to earlier historians' poorly informed 
perceptions of nomadism, and to the ethnocentric and often racist thinking 
of their era, there developed by the early 20th century, and lingered until 
relatively recently, a tradition of casting the Amorites in the role of, quite 
simply, barbarians. They were perceived in rather essentialist fashion, as 
tribal, marauding bedouin Semitic invaders who advanced in waves that the 
rulers of the highly centralized "civilized" Ur III state were hard pressed 
to stem and whose breaking upon that state's boundaries contributed sig- 
nificantly to its collapse. The centuries immediately following the collapse, 
during which the Amorites played a significant role, were similarly viewed as 
dominated by continued incursions of these nomadic migrants. Eventually, 
their migrations culminated in their sedentarization and in the formation of 
so-called "tribal" kingdoms (among them Hammurapi's Babylon), as well as 
in their becoming civilized through acculturation to the superior culture of 
the urbane, more highly civilized Sumero-Akkadian population. 

By the late 1960s, however, closer examination of the cuneiform sources 
yielded evidence that has led to a dramatic reassessment of this simplistic 
and unidimensional view of the Amorites' role in, and impact on, ancient 
Mesopotamian history, as well as their place in Mesopotamian society. One 
recent study, for example, notes the presence of the quite possibly Amorite 
designation Tidnum in a document known as the Archaic City List from 
Uruk that dates as early as 3000 BCE; indeed the author of this study asserts 
that such terms as MAR.TU, the general Sumerian term for Amorite, "are 
merely convenient terms for populations that had existed in the region since 
the end of the seventh millennium BCE. Therefore, the 'layering' of Semitic 

22 Martin Bernal, Black Athena: the Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. I: The 
Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 


Nomads, Barbarians, and Societal Collapse 

populations" in the Mesopotamian floodplain "must be more complex and 
older than previously thought." 23 Also, by 1966, Giorgio Buccellati had 
demonstrated that, even during the Third Dynasty of Ur, when Amorite 
groups were causing rulers in Sumer to undertake defensive measures, 
Amorites were already inhabiting the urban centers of Lower Mesopotamia 
in significant numbers. 24 Later studies exposed the inappropriateness of the 
"wave model" of successive nomadic inundations of Mesopotamia and Syria. 
Indeed, the textual data on the whole demonstrate that "Amorites were not 
uniformly tribal, hostile to urbanites, or nomadic. They came to power 
not as crude foreigners taking over from effete urbanites, but as powerful 
components in the flux of changing political circumstances in the collapse of 
a strongly centralized state." 25 Likewise, the traditional view of the Amorites 
as almost exclusively nomadic pastoralists is directly contradicted by the 
evidence, noted earlier, that, by the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur, Amorites 
were "fully integrated in every facet of the Mesopotamian social landscape" 
as "pastoralists, agriculturalists, country dwellers and city dwellers." 26 With 
the benefit of new evidence and re-examined assumptions, what we can now 
begin to discern are "differing modes of interaction with population groups 
which consisted of a variety of elements, some settled, some in various 
nomadic patterning, some newly arrived and some which had lived in the 
area for generations." 27 Put more succinctly, Amorites are "nomads, farmers, 
and kings," all of them members of a distinct ethnic group identified and 
defined not only by their labeling as "Amorites" in texts, but also, as early 
2nd-millennium BCE and later texts make clear, by their self-perceived 
common origin, their shared belief system, their distinct language, and their 
respect for the same leaders. 28 

Evidently, then, the Amorites, as a specific ethnic group, in at least that 
regard comprised a distinct entity within Mesopotamian society of the late 3rd 
and early 2nd millennium BCE. That individuals are designated specifically 
as MAR.TU in texts of this period surely indicates that at least the scribes 
who composed those texts perceived them as sufficiently different or special 
to warrant such designation. Furthermore, that Amorite groups played a 
significant role in contributing to the collapse of the highly centralized Ur III 
state seems beyond refuting. Yet what has been made just as apparent in 

23 Zarins, "Early Pastoral Nomadism" 55. 

24 Giorgio Buccellati, The Amorites of the Ur III Period (Istituto Orientale di Napoli, Publi- 
cazioni del Seminario di Semitistica, Richerche I; Naples: Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 1966). 

25 K. Kamp and N. Yoffee, "Ethnicity in Ancient Western Asia During the Early Second 
Millennium B.C. : Archaeological Assessments and Ethnoarchaeological Perspectives," BASOR 
237 (1980) 99. 

26 Kamp and Yoffee, "Ethnicity" 98. 

27 P. Michalowski, "History as Charter: Some Observations on the Sumerian King List," JAOS 
103 (1983) 245 ff. 

2 « Kamp and Yoffee, "Ethnicity" 94, 98. 


John F. Robertson 

recent years is that old assumptions that people designated MAR.TU in late 
3rd-millennium sources represent essentially nomadic, tribal elements — for 
all intents and purposes barbarians — within the population are no longer 
warranted as a matter of course. Rather, individual Amorites might be 
found virtually anywhere along the spectrum of power, status, and mode 
of subsistence and settlement: from king to commoner, from long-settled 
urbanite to semi-settled laborer to pastoral transhumant of the steppe. 

In conclusion, our notion of who the Amorites were has become, at the 
same time, both better and less defined. Likewise, an increasingly nuanced 
and sophisticated appraisal of the Amorites' role in the history of ancient 
Mesopotamia and Syria calls for a similarly nuanced and sophisticated 
reappraisal of both the evidence and the cultural assumptions that led to 
their labeling as barbarians — and perhaps, in a more macro or longue duree 
framework — to a re-evaluation of the role of "barbarians" as causes of the 
collapse of states and empires in the ancient Near East. Romantic, but 
simplistic, paradigms that invoked waves of marauding barbarian hordes 
bent on destruction and conquest which have been attractive in Western 
historiography for decades no longer provide satisfactory explanations for 
the collapse of ancient states and societies in the ancient Near East. Instead 
students of the ancient Near Eastern past will be better served by explanatory 
frameworks that, rather than focus excessively on catastrophic upheaval 
and discontinuity, emphasize "continuity and economic reorganization of 
indigenous populations" and incorporate "new understandings of social 
tensions, economic fluctuations and adaptive change." 29 

29 Neil Asher Silberman, "Desolation and Restoration: the Impact of a Biblical Concept in 
Near Eastern Archaeology" BA 54(1991)83. 



F. Rochberg 

I first made acquaintance with Mesopotamian divination through Erie 
Leichty, whose lectures on Mesopotamian culture at the University of Penn- 
sylvania conveyed not only information and resources but a vibrancy and 
love of the field that was infectious. This paper is but a token of my great 
debt of gratitude to Professor Leichty for introducing me to the world of 
ancient Mesopotamia and the endless fascination of its scholarly divination 

Because celestial divination was part of a wider effort to interpret signs 
in the physical world as divine warnings of things to come, we see a common 
rationale for all forms of Mesopotamian divination, linking the various omen 
series to one another and placing celestial divination within a broader textual 
and cultural context. In similar fashion to other divinatory series such as 
Summa izbu, the Dreambook, or the repertoire of the haruspex, bdrutu, the 
earliest collections of celestial omens emerge in the Old Babylonian period 
and reflect a purely Akkadian genre. That no Sumerian proto-types are known 
has been observed before, although, as already noted by Falkenstein, the 
practice of divination in some form as early as the Early Dynastic period is 
indicated by a number of professional titles in the Early Dynastic lexical list 
Lu, such as ugula.azu,, and ugula 1 We must 
admit, though, that we do not know what this amounts to. Urnanse consults the 
ugula.azu in connection with building a temple. 2 Otherwise, Sumerian terms 
for cultic functionaries associated with divination and dream incubation are 
known in Ur III economic texts. 3 Late third millennium Sumerian literature 
also attests to the association of divination and cult. Perhaps the best, or 
only intelligible, example is Cylinder A of Gudea of Lagas, which suggests 
some acquaintance with dream omens, extispicy, and even celestial signs, 
and places divination in the context of a temple building ritual. 4 

1 A. Falkenstein, "'Wahrsagung' in der sumerische tlberlieferung," in CRRAI 14(1966)45-68 
and Early Dynastic Lu 130 (MSL 12 19). See also J. Renger, "Untersuchungen zum Priestertum 
der altbabylonischen Zeit," ZA 59 (1969) 203 n 940. 

2 Falkenstein, '"Wahrsagung,"' 47, also J.J. Finkelstein, "Mesopotamian Historiography," 
PAPS 107 (1963) 464 note 12. 

3 As cited in the discussion section of CAD B 125 s. v. baru, in Ur III texts 
may be found in A. L. Oppenheim, Fames Coll. 37 f. Cf. ITT 2/2 3 1 08 rev. 2 and Nikolski 2 83:6. Later, of course, in OB these professions are better attested, as 
outlined in detail by Renger, "Untersuchungen," and even occur in omen protases: "If he sees 
a diviner (baru)/ an exorcist (asipu)/ a physician (asu)." 

4 Gudea Cyl.A xii 16-7; xiii 16-7; xx 5 refers to the performance of extispicy; dreams 


F. Rochberg 

The poetic inscription describing Gudea's building of Ningirsu's temple 
Eninnu refers to the goddess Nisaba consulting a tablet, dub mul-an, "the 
tablet 'stars of heaven,'" which rests on her knee. 5 Also in the Sumerian 
composition "The Blessing of Nisaba," the goddess consults a tablet, there 
described as made of lapis-lazuli. 6 Whether the blue tablet and the tablet of 
"heavenly stars" (mul-an) refer to the same object is not clear, but in both 
contexts, Nisaba's tablet appears to be a symbol of learning and wisdom. 7 
Thorkild Jacobsen translated the latter as "a tablet (treating) of the stars 
above," 8 W. Horowitz suggested it is a "replica or chart" of the sky, conceived 
of as a big blue cosmic tablet, taking the lapis lazuli tablet as referring to 
the same. A. Sjoberg suggested a translation of this mul as "script," thus 
"the tablet of heavenly writing," 9 an insightful interpretation when we think 
that Mesopotamian literati of the middle of the first millennium expressed 
the notion of the patterns of stars covering the sky as a celestial script. The 
poetic metaphor of the "heavenly writing" (sitir same or sitirti samami) 
appears on occasion in later Neo-Babylonian royal inscriptions to refer to 
temples made beautiful "like the stars" (kima sitir same, literally, "like the 
heavenly writing"). 10 In these Babylonian inscriptions, the metaphor is not 
used explicitly for astrology, or celestial divination, but the notion of the 
stars as a heavenly script implies their capacity to be read and interpreted. 
A seventh century scholarly text from Assur explains the starry sky as the 
"lower heavens" (samu sapluti), made of jasper, and on whose surface the god 

(mas-gif,, "night vision") are found in i 17-8; i 27 and note the use of the word giskim, "sign," 
viii 19; ix 9, and xii 11, see D. O. Edzard, Gudea and His Dynasty (RIME 3/1; Toronto: 
University of Toronto Press, 1997). See also U. Koch-Westenholz, Mesopotamian Astrology 
(CNIP 19; Copenhagen: The Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, Museum 
Tusculanum Press, 1995) 32-3. 

5 Gudea Cyl.A iv 26 and v 23, see Edzard, RIME 3/1 72. 

6 For "The Blessing of Nisaba," see W. W. Hallo, "The Cultic Setting of Sumerian Poetry," in 
CRRAI 17 (1970) 125:29-31, and see also A. Sjoberg and E. Bergmann, The Collection of the 
Sumerian Temple Hymns (TCS 3; Locust Valley, NY. : J. J. Augustin, 1969)49:538-9, also cited 
in W. Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography (MC 8; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 
1998) 166-7. 

7 See the passage TCL 16 88 v 20^4, cited in Sjoberg and Bergmann, Sumerian Temple Hymns 
148, note to line 538. 

8 Thorkild Jacobsen, The Harps That Once ...: Sumerian Poetry in Translation (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1987) 393. 

9 Sjoberg and Bergmann, Sumerian Temple Hymns 138b, citing MSL 2 132 VI 57 mul = 
sitirtum. Nisaba also holds the "holy tablet of the heavenly star/writing" (dub-mul-an-ku) in the 
composition "Nisaba and Enki" lines 29-33, see Hallo, "Cultic Setting," 125, 129, and 131. 

10 In the following inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar: VAB 4 187 i 39, also 74 ii 2; YOS 1 44 i 
21 ; cf. BBSt. No. 5 ii 28. Also in the form sitir burume, literally "writing of the firmament," for 
which, see CAD B s.v. burumu usage b, predominantly in Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions, but 
also in a hymn to Assur, see A. Livingstone, Court Poetry and Literary Miscellanea (SAA 3; 
Helsinki: University of Helsinki, 1989) 4 Text no. 1:21. See also Horowitz, Mesopotamian 
Cosmic Geography 15 n. 25 and 226. 


Old Babylonian Celestial Divination 

Marduk drew "the constellations of the gods" (lumasi sa Hani). 11 The image 
of the heavens as a stone surface upon which a god could draw or write, as a 
scribe would a clay tablet, complements the metaphoric trope of the heavenly 
writing. In their discussion of the term lumasu, "constellation," used in the 
sense of a form of writing with astral pictographs or "astroglyphs," as they 
have been called M. Roaf and A. Zgoll note that Sumerian mul, "star" (or 
mul-an, "heavenly star"), "can refer both to a star in the sky and to a cuneiform 
sign on a tablet." 12 They further remark on the relationship between the 
arrangement of stars in certain constellations and that of the wedges in 
cuneiform signs. 13 The metaphor of the heavenly writing, therefore, related 
the constellations to cuneiform signs from which one could read and derive 
meaning, and thus expressed the idea that written messages were encoded in 
celestial phenomena. 14 

In the first discussion of the history of the celestial omen series Enuma 
Ann Enlil (EAE), E. Weidner knew of only one such tablet from the Old 
Babylonian period. 15 This text was first published by Schileico in 1927, 
then by Bauer in 1936, and most recently by Horowitz in 2000. 16 The 
fact that this text combines disparate subjects makes it difficult to see it 
as any kind of forerunner to a specific tablet of Enuma Anu Enlil. Nine 
omens concerning the appearance of the sky, some lunar phenomena, and a 
couple of atmospheric phenomena are assembled in a rough sort of order, 
at least the lunar omens follow in sequence by day of the month (i.e., the 
day of disappearance, the 6th, 7th, and 25th), but these are interspersed with 
omens for pani same, "the face of heaven." The first two omens are for 
the sky's appearance. A "dull" (esu) 17 sky signals sattum lemnat, "a bad 
year," while a sky shining like the rising moon signals sattum damqat, "a 
good year." Another omen for the sky (line 13) compares its appearance to 
water, reminiscent of the later scholarly etymology of same, "sky" as sa me, 

11 KAR 307:33; see Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography 3 and 13-5, also plate I for 
text copy. Other references to the "drawing" of stars {kakkabani eseru) may be found in CAD 
E s.v. eseru A meaning 1 b and c. 

12 Michael Roaf and Annette Zgoll, "Assyrian Astroglyphs: Lord Aberdeen's Black Stone and 
the Prisms of Esarhaddon," ZA 91 (2001) 289 and n. 68. 

13 Roaf and Zgoll, "Assyrian Astroglyphs" 289. 

14 The notion of the god (often Samas) "writing" the signs on the exta of sheep is well-known, 
see, e.g., ina libbi immeri tasattar sere tasakkan dinu, "you (Samas) write upon the flesh 
inside the sheep (i.e., the entrails), you establish (there) an oracular decision," OECT 6 pl.30 
K 2824:12. 

15 E.F. Weidner, "Die astrologische Serie Enuma Anu Enlil," AfO 14 (1941-44) 172-95 and 

16 W. Horowitz, "Astral Tablets in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg," ZA 90 (2000) 203-6. 

17 Schileico and Bauer read is-su-[u], while Horowitz reads us-su-[u\, taking the verb as the 
D-stem of era in the meaning "confused." The sign in the copy (Schileico) looks like a hybrid 
of IS and US. 


F. Rochberg 

"of water." 18 These lunar omens also differ from Enuma Anu Enlil and even 
the other Old Babylonian celestial omens in the manner of writing the moon 
as Hum, "the god," or even d SES.KI = Nanna, the Sumerian name for the 
moon god. In the later texts, Hum still occurs, only rarely, as in the phrase, 
ilu itbal, "the moon set (literally, 'the god disappeared')." Otherwise, in the 
Old Babylonian lunar eclipse texts, the moon is written d EN.ZU, and Enuma 
Anu Enlil uses d 30 fairly consistently. 

For the period before the first millennium direct Old Babylonian fore- 
runners to the series Enuma Anu Enlil were, therefore, unknown at the time 
of Weidner's writing, although indications that an Old Babylonian origin 
might still be found were apparent in celestial omen texts from a variety 
of areas on the peripheries of Mesopotamia, that is, Anatolia (Hattusa), 
the Levant (Emar, Qatna, Alalakh, and Ugarit), and Iran (Susa), dating 
to the second millennium. In addition, uncontracted writings and vestiges 
of the Old Babylonian syllabary (such as the signs qd, e 4 , and pi) found 
in the Neo-Assyrian Enuma Anu Enlil texts were generally regarded as 
orthographic evidence of a likely Old Babylonian origin for the series. Given 
that other forms of divination have Old Babylonian exemplars, especially 
extispicy (bdrutu 19 ), but also divination from physiognomy (alamdimmu 20 ), 
and malformed births (izbu 21 ), the absence of similar Old Babylonian sources 
for Enuma Anu Enlil was surprising. 

Since the time of Weidner's researches, Douglas Kennedy identified four 
Old Babylonian celestial omen tablets in the British Museum. Kennedy's 
tablets contained lunar eclipse omens which prove to be forerunners to 
the lunar eclipse omen section of the "canonical," or main text of Enuma 
Anu Enlil. Other Old Babylonian celestial omen texts containing solar and 
weather omens may also be included among the earliest attested celestial 
omen texts, namely the Schileico tablet just mentioned, a British Museum 
tablet kindly brought to my attention by C.B.E Walker, and a solar eclipse 
tablet published by M. Dietrich. 22 Admittedly the disparity in the number 

18 See iNAMgisurankia (K 170+) rev. 6, A. Livingstone, Mystical and Mythological Explana- 
tory Works (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) 32. 

19 CT 44 37; Ulla Jeyes, Old Babylonian Extispicy: Omen Texts in the British Museum 
(PIHANS 64; Istanbul / Leiden: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut / Nederlands 
Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1989) no. 11; Thomas Richter, "Untersuchungen zum 
Opferschauwesen I. Uberlegungen zur Rekonstruktion der altbabylonischen barutum-Serie," 
ONS 62 (1993) 121-41. 

20 YOS 10 54 and 55; Kraus, Texte 62, all three of which are re-edited in Barbara Bock, 
Die babylonisch-assyrische Morphoskopie (AfO Beih. 27; Vienna: Institut fur Orientalistik 
der Universitat Wien, 2000) 296-305; as well as Franz Kocher and A.L. Oppenheim, "The 
Old-Babylonian Omen Text VAT 7525," AfO 18(1957-58) 63-7. 

21 YOS 10 12 and 56, edited in Erie Leichty, The Omen Series Summa Izbu (TCS 4; Locust 
Valley, N.Y: J. J. Augustin, 1970) 201-7. 

22 M. Dietrich, "Altbabylonische Omina zur Sonnenfinsternis," WZKM 86 (1996) 99-106, 
apud Hermann Hunger and David Pingree, Astral Sciences in Mesopotamia (HdO 1/44; Leiden: 


Old Babylonian Celestial Divination 

of sources, barely more than a handful from the Old Babylonian period as 
against the voluminous mass of later sources, makes a "history of Babylonian 
celestial divination" difficult to formulate. Not only that, but bridging the 
gap between the Old Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian (and Neo-Babylonian) 
Enuma Anu Enlil relies on fewer than ten exemplars of Middle Assyrian 
or Middle Babylonian date. Nevertheless, and particularly with respect to 
Kennedy's tablets, the relationship of the Old Babylonian forerunners to 
the later standardized series adds considerably to our knowledge of the 
development of celestial divination as of the Mesopotamian intellectual 
tradition itself. 

The most extensive and best preserved of the Old Babylonian celestial 
omens (BM 22696 and BM 86381) deal with lunar eclipses. 23 In relation to 
versions of Enuma Anu Enlil from Middle Assyrian and Middle Babylonian 
sources, with parallels in Hittite sources and Akkadian texts from Bogazkoy, 
as well as other "peripheral" texts such as those of Emar from the 13th 
century, the Old Babylonian texts serve to outline a literary development 
from a stage before standardization to the more or less standard series 
Enuma Anu Enlil that ultimately provided the reference work for the scholar 
who specialized in celestial divination, i.e., the tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil 
in the employ of the Neo-Assyrian court. Cautionary remarks as to the 
conceptualization of such an official or canonical Enuma Anu Enlil text 
are probably no longer necessary, as it is well-known that Enuma Anu 
Enlil not only circulated in various recensions, but included other omens — 
termed ahu, "extraneous," or alternative omens — within a generally accepted 
repertoire. 24 The sense in which we characterize the series as "standard" has 
to do with the fact that catalogues arranged the numbered tablets in a certain 
order, and that commentaries refer to these tablets by their numbers, even 
though there are discrepancies in the assignment of such tablet numbers. 
Because the fundamental thematic elements found in the protases of all 
four Old Babylonian eclipse omens continue throughout later redactions, 
they may be viewed as forerunners to the lunar eclipse section of Enuma 
Anu Enlil, especially Tablets 17-18. Although variants among the Old 
Babylonian exemplars are numerous and one of the texts is an excerpt tablet, 
all four texts draw upon a single set of omens. The Old Babylonian omens 
appear to provide the foundation for the expansion of this collection of 
omens in the Middle Assyrian, Middle Babylonian, and Neo-Assyrian works. 

Brill, 1999) 8 and n. 9. 

23 I thank the Trustees of the British Museum for permission to cite these unpublished tablets. 

24 See William W. Hallo, "The Concept of Canonicity in Cuneiform and Biblical Literature: 
A Comparative Appraisal," in The Biblical Canon in Comparative Perspective: Scripture in 
Context 4 (ed. K. Lawson Younger, Jr., William W. Hallo, and Bernard F. Batto; Lewiston: The 
Edwin Mellen Press, 1991) 1-19. 


F. Rochberg 

This contrasts with the Old Babylonian izbu material, for example (YOS 1 
12 and 56, Leichty, Izbu 201-7), which do not parallel the Neo-Assyrian 
izbu compendium so closely. Aside from obvious structural differences 
due to the smaller number of omens in Old Babylonian sources, other 
differences from the Neo-Assyrian recension are found in formulary and 

The orthography of the Old Babylonian eclipse omens can be charac- 
terized as typically Old Babylonian in the use of syllabic spellings, plene 
writings, sandhi writings, and the preservation of mimation. The particu- 
lar orthographic characteristics of these texts cannot, however, be identified 
with respect to a more specific form of Old Babylonian, such as the North- 
ern or Southern "dialects" of the Old Babylonian language described by 
A. Goetze in Sachs and Neugebauer's MCT. To expect the orthography of 
this corpus to conform to such characteristics as defined by Goetze on the 
basis of Old Babylonian letters, economic, or legal documents, is perhaps un- 
warranted if indeed the specialized "literary-scholarly" tradition which pro- 
duced these texts does not exhibit the same set of characteristics. The celestial 
omens exhibit both so-called Northern and Southern writing conventions, for 
example, DI for /ti/ as in bu-ta-al-lu-(Dl)ti-im (A:39), which according to 
Goetze is a sign of Southern Old Babylonian dialect whereas TU for /tu/ (in- 
stead of DU) as in ub-bu-(TU)tu (A: 18) is typical of the Northern dialect. 25 
We also find for syllables beginning with /s/, the signs ZI and ZU for /si/ 
(i-sa-ab-as-[Zl]si A r.41) and /su/ (ha-as-[ZU]su A r. 33), also supposedly 
indicative of Southern writing conventions. 

Despite a preponderance of syllabic spellings, in comparison with other 
Old Babylonian omen texts, this corpus makes use of relatively many lo- 
gograms. In contrast to the much larger volume of texts in the series Summa 
izbu, in which only about twenty logograms are used all of which are sub- 
stantives, the eclipse omens have three times that number, of which, however, 
only seven are verbs. The logograms appearing in the Old Babylonian celes- 
tial omens are for the most part the same as those used in the canonical series 
of the later period with only a few exceptions. The most obvious exception is 
in the writing of the word "eclipse," attalu (antalu). In no case is this spelled 
syllabically, as elsewhere in Old Babylonian, 26 but only with the logogram 
AN.TA.LU. This is also the practice known in texts from Bogazkoy and Elam 
(although there is a syllabic spelling at Bogazkoy). 27 

Both the derivation and the etymology of the logogram AN.TA.LU 
are obscure. One may of course read it as a pseudo-logographic phonetic 

25 MCT 146. 

26 G. Dossin, "Lettre du devin Asqudum au roi Zimrilim au sujet d'une eclipse de lune," in 
CRRAI 2 (1951) 47:5f., and see CAD A/2 s.v. attalu (d). 

27 KUB 37 160:5', 7', and 10'; see CAD A/2 s.v. attalu (d) 2'. 


Old Babylonian Celestial Divination 

rendering of the Akkadian word antalu, or as a learned pseudo-etymology, in 
which AN.TA (elis), "above" is combined with LU (dalahu), "to disturb" to 
mean "disturbance above," or the like. The latter derivation is supported by 
a late commentary to Enuma Anu Enlil Tablet 1: "AN.KUio is darkness and 
AN.KUio is disturbance, . . . variant, disorder, and troubles." 28 The association 
of AN.KUio with disturbance is seen again in an astrological report: "an 
eclipse will occur; AN.KUio means troubles." 29 Goetze found etymological 
explanations of antalu in terms of Sumerian also unlikely; he felt that 
antalu, and its Old Babylonian variant namtallum (nantallum), attested in 
Old Babylonian extispicy and hemerologies was possibly of foreign origin. 30 
Antalu was later borrowed into Aramic as 'atalya, and into Mandaic as talia. 
The Aramaic and Mandaic terms refer to a mythical dragon that caused 
eclipses by devouring or wrapping itself around the moon, and also become 
the names for the constellation Draco. Perhaps in the remote background are 
the seven evil gods or demons of the bilingual udug.hul / utukku lemnuti, 
who "kept passing (Akkadian, "kept encircling," from Gtn larnu) furiously 
in front of the divine crescent, Sin." 31 

The two best preserved of the Old Babylonian eclipse omens, which will 
be referred to here as Texts A and B, 32 use the form AN.TA.LU, and most 
likely so does Text D, although its line beginnings, where this word occurs, are 
not preserved. Text C uses an abbreviated form AN.TA consistently. The form 
AN.TA.LU is also preserved in Standard Babylonian texts which retain Old 
Babylonian orthography, e.g., Enuma Anu Enlil Tablet 22. 33 The logogram 
AN.KUio seems to appear for the first time only after the Old Babylonian 
period. From a paleographic standpoint, the Old Babylonian celestial omens 
(including BM 97210 with solar and weather omens) show a standard Old 

28 Late Babylonian astrological commentary VAT 782, Ernst F. Weidner, "Die astrologische 
Serie Enuma Anu Enlil," AfO 14 (1941^44) pi. 4 I 16-7: AN.KUio KAxMI AN.KUio du-lu- 
uh-hu-it : AN.TA. LU.LU / [x N]E LU.LU : e-sa-a-tU4 : a-sd-a-tu/ dal-ha-a-tU4. 

29 Hermann Hunger, Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings (SAA 8; Helsinki: University of 
Helsinki Press, 1992) 55:4-5: AN.KUio issakkan AN.KUio duluhhu. 

30 CAD A/2 s.v. attain (d), YOS 10 42 iv 38. It is also unlikely that namtallum has anything to 
do with Sumerian nam.talla (A. Goetze, "Akk. antalu and namtallum 'eclipse,'" JCS 1 [1947] 
251-2). Various Sumerian equivalents, non-etymologically related to the Akkadian word, are 
attested for antalu:,, as well as an.MI (Antagal G 1 99-20 1 , MSL 1 7 
226; Igituh I 136-8; B. Landsberger and O. R. Gurney, "igi-duh-a = tamartu, Short Version," 
4/018 [1957-58] 82 116). 

31 dub.sag.ta ud.sar d : ina mahar d Nannari d Sin ezzis iltanammu 
CT 16 20:73 f.; CT 16 21:148 f. For a translation of portions of this myth, see A.D Kilmer, 
"A Note on the Babylonian Mythological Explanation of the Lunar Eclipse," JAOS 98 (1978) 

32 Text sigla are carried over from F. Rochberg-Halton, Aspects of Babylonian Celestial 
Divination: The Lunar Eclipse Tablets of Enuma Anu Enlil (AfO Beih. 22; Horn: Verlag 
Ferdinand Berger & Sonne, 1988) 19. 

33 See F Rochberg-Halton, Aspects of Babylonian Celestial Divination (= ABCD) 25 1-72. 


E Rochberg 

Babylonian script, conforming to the so-called younger cursive, as denned 
by Goetze in YOS 10. Goetze identified this later Old Babylonian script as 
that employed in documents of the "Hammurabi chancellory." 

The relationship between the Old Babylonian lunar eclipse omens and 
Enilma Anu Enlil Tablets 17-18 can best be shown using Text A, which serves 
as a convenient reference. Note, however, that all four Old Babylonian tablets 
contain the same material. Tablets 1 5 and 1 6 of the lunar eclipse omen section 
also relate in part to the Old Babylonian material. These parallels will be 
enumerated first. 

Enuma Anu Enlil Tablet 1 5 34 parallels the Old Babylonian texts only in its 
focus on the passing of the eclipse shadow over the moon. The location of the 
eclipse shadow on the "right side" is found in the Old Babylonian text, and is 
preserved in an excerpt of EAE 15: DIS AN.KUio ZAG-su BAL-af (EAE 15 
text a:6-13//A:4f). The various directions of the shadow as it moves across 
the lunar disk form the content of the best-preserved part of EAE 15, i.e., 
col. iii. As such, it seems to be an expansion of Text A:8-l 1 . EAE 15 contains 
some apodoses also seen in Text A, e.g., abub mitharis isakkan, "devastating 
flood waters will occur" (A:4-5, cf. EAE 15 Sources F:l', 6', 9' and G:l', 
5'), and miqitti (Old Babylonian RI.RI.GA, Neo-Assyrian SUB-ft) Akkadi 
(Subari, Amurri, Elamti), "downfall of Akkad (Subartu, Amurru, Elam)" 
(A:8— 11, cf. EAE 15 col. iii passim). EAE 16 organizes its omens by the 
calendar year of 13 months. The first four omen protases of the EAE 16 
schema parallel Text A:8-ll "If an eclipse occurs on the 14th day of MN, 
and it begins and clears in the south (north, east, west)." The next protasis 
in the schema is also found in Text A, although not in the same sequence: 
"If an eclipse occurs on the 14th of MN and a meteor falls." The general 
arrangement of eclipse omens in the Old Babylonian texts by day 14, 15, 16, 
19, and 20 of each of the 13 months is also preserved in EAE 16. When it 
comes to the apodoses, however, the parallelism falls apart. Where apodoses 
are preserved in EAE 16, (months II, III, IV, V, VII, IX, X, XI, XII, XII*) 
there are no parallels to Text A (with a single exception, Text A rev. 54, 
the omen for Month XII* day 14 has the apodosis nlsu serrisina ana kaspi 
ipassara, "people will sell their children," found in EAE 16 §XII* I rev. 4' 

Close parallels between EAE 17 and the Old Babylonian forerunners 
have been cited before. 35 Here it will have to suffice to give a few examples, 
and to make the point that the parallelism between EAE 1 7 (and 18) with the 
Old Babylonian material is complete. The following are omens from EAE 17 
SIV7-9 and Text A:42^15. 

34 References to this text refer to Rochberg-Halton, ABCD 67- 

35 Rochberg-Halton, ABCD 114-5. 


Old Babylonian Celestial Divination 

EAE 17 §IV.7 (F 11') DIS ina jti SU UD.16.KAM AN.KUm GAR SU.KU IN.NU 
GAL-ma [SUB-tim GU 4 .HI.A GAL] 

A:42-3 AN.TA.LU mSUNUMUNA UD. 1 6.KAM GAR hu-sa-ah-hi IN.NU 
is-sa-ak-ka-an RI.RI.GA GUD ! .HI.A ib-ba-as-si tar-ba-su i-l[a]-wi 

"An eclipse on the 16th of Du'uzu: There will be want of straw; 
downfall of cattle will occur; the cattle pen will be surrounded 

EAE 17 §IV.8 (F 12') DIS ina M SU UD.20.KAM AN.KU10 GAR SUB-tim 
NIM.MA ki u Gu-ti-i 

i-na KA KUR i-ha-[li-iq] 

"An eclipse on the 20th of Du'uzu: Downfall of Elam; it will perish at 
the gate of the land." 

EAE 17 §IV.9 (F 13') DIS ina M SU UD21.KAM AN.KUm GAR d ISKUR 

A:45 AN.TA.LU MSU.NUMUN.A UD.21 .KAM GAR flSKUR hi-si-ib 
ia-a-ba u-hal-[liq\ 

"An eclipse on the 21st of Du'uzu: Adad will destroy the produce of the 

This relationship between EAE 17-18 and the Old Babylonian tradition 
extends throughout. Far less striking, but noteworthy, is the incorporation into 
EAE 1 9 of omens for the time of the eclipse in watches seen in Text A. EAE 2 1 
is for the most part not parallel. A few omens of Text A, however, seem to 
have been taken into Tablet 2 1 , but these are omens that also overlap with 
EAE 17-18. EAE 22 Part I exhibits some connection to the Old Babylonian 
texts, although not to the extent shown for EAE 17-18. Elamite writings 
and parallels with other peripheral exemplars of eclipse omens have pointed 
toward a Susite or at least extra-Mesopotamian intermediary for this tablet. 36 
Comparison between EAE 22 and the Old Babylonian texts confirms the 
ultimate origins of Tablet 22 Part I in Mesopotamia proper, not in Elam or 
the Hittite Empire. However, as W. Farber argued the orthography of this 
tablet quite likely preserves the form of the Elamite source from which the 
Neo-Assyrian EAE 22 was taken. 37 The omens of EAE 22 Part II, for an 

36 Rochberg-Halton, ABCD 31, 251-2; W. Farber, "Zur Orthographie von EAE 22: Neue 
Lesungen and Versuch einer Deutung," in Die Rolle der Astronomie in den Kulturen 
Mesopotamiens (ed. Ft. D. Gaiter; Grazer morgenlandische Studien 3; Graz: GrazKult, 1993) 
247-57; Koch-Westenholz, Mesopotamian Astrology 49-51. 

37 Farber, "Zur Orthographie von EAE 22" 247-57. 


E Rochberg 

eclipse occuring each month "from the 1st to the 30th day," and for thunder, 
earthquake, and mudslide seem to have no Mesopotamian Old Babylonian 

The only tablet not so far mentioned is Enuma Ann Enlil Tablet 20. This 
tablet is exceptional in its complexity and detail, as the following example 

If an eclipse occurs on the 14th day of Tebetu, and the god (=the moon), in his 
eclipse, becomes dark on the east upper part of the disk and clears on the west 
lower part; the west wind (rises and the eclipse) begins in the last watch and does 
not end (with the watch); his cusps are the same (size), neither one nor the other 
is wider or narrower. Observe his eclipse, i.e., of the moon in whose eclipse the 
cusps were the same, neither one being wider or narrower, and bear in mind the 
west wind. The prediction (literally: "verdict") applies to Subartu. Subartu and 
Gutium .... brother will smite brother; the people will suffer defeat(?); there will 
be many widows; the king of Subartu will make peace with the lands ... It (the 
eclipse) began in the middle watch and did not end (it). Thus is its omen and its 
consequence (literally: "verdict"). 38 

In short, Tablet 20 is the only eclipse tablet that has no connection to the Old 
Babylonian material. Because of the comparatively many details of eclipses 
given in the protases of Tablet 20, the idea could have gained ground that 
these reflect a firmer empirical basis than can be established for the other 
eclipse tablets with their generic and schematic protases; these details might 
have thereby constituted more secure evidence for chronology, had we been 
able to establish a solid textual connection to the Old Babylonian period. 39 
Unfortunately we still do not have a textual basis in Old Babylonian for 
EAE 20. 

The obvious historical question, "How far back can we push the beginning 
of the celestial omen tradition?" has two answers, I suppose. Conservatively, 
taking the question in a literary-historical sense, there are no celestial omens 
attested before the Old Babylonian period. Thus the beginnings of this 
tradition cannot be pushed beyond the Old Babylonian period, and, given 
the late Old Babylonian script noted above, it is safer to set a date towards 
the latter part of the 17th century BC. From a liberal standpoint, taking the 
question in a broader cultural sense, it appears that the idea of signs in the 
heavens was already current at Lagas in the late third millennium, taking 
the evidence from Gudea as the clearest case. Besides Nisaba's "tablet," the 
meaning of other key passages in Gudea's cylinder with respect to divination 

38 Rochberg-Halton, ABCD 209. 

39 For a discussion of the chronological potential of the eclipses described in EAE 20s omens, 
see Peter J. Huber, "Dating by Lunar Eclipse Omina, with Speculations on the Birth of Omen 
Astrology," in Studies Aaboe 3-13. 


Old Babylonian Celestial Divination 

depend on our understanding the use of Sumerian kin, dui i, 
"to pronounce an oracular decision" and giskim, "sign" in such literary 
contexts. Additional examples are found in the Kes Temple Hymn, where 
the temple is "given an oracle by mother Nintu" (ama d nin-tu-ra es-bar-kin 
dun-ga). 40 The idea that omens conveyed divine decisions ( 
persists in later texts, where the word purussu comes to refer specifically to 
the omen apodosis. 41 Finally, in Ningirsu's promise to Gudea in the dream, 
the god says: 42 "Gudea, for building my house let me give you its giskim. Let 
me tell you the pure stars above (mul-an-ku-ba) (the heralds) of my appointed 
tasks." 43 But for pursuing the origins of scholarly celestial divination, i.e., 
omen texts, back before Late Old Babylonian times, such texts do little but 
attest to the use of giskim in the same context, or nearly, as the mention of 
stars. Even were we to assume that such a thing as celestial divination existed 
in the third millennium, we have no texts with which to give it any form, 
content, or extent. 

Because the age of the beginnings of astronomical observation and 
the systematization of astronomical phenomena is directly correlated with 
the existence of celestial omens, our tracing the formation of scholarly 
celestial divination is of no small significance. Already well-known are the 
early strands of Babylonian astronomy embedded in Enuma Ann Enlil Tablets 
14 (on lunar visibility), 59-60 (on the planet Jupiter) and 63 (on the synodic 
phenomena of Venus), but none of these Tablets is extant in Old Babylonian 
form. It is easily shown that the principles of organization of the protases of 
the Old Babylonian lunar eclipse omens reflect systematic study of this lu- 
nar phenomenon. Continuity, therefore, between the celestial omen tradition 
reaching back to the early second millennium (1800 BC serves as a conve- 
nient date) and the earliest astronomical tradition is fully justified even if 
viewed conservatively as tied solely to the lunar eclipse tablets. In addition to 
the astronomy of the omen texts, an early astronomical tradition preserved in 
non-divinatory texts of the end of the second and early in the first millennium 
attests to a foundation of astronomical observation and the early construction 

40 Gene B. Gragg, "The Kes Temple Hymn," in Ake W. Sjoberg and E. Bergmann, The 
Collection of the Sumerian Temple Hymns (TCS 3; Locust Valley, N.Y.: J.J. Augustin, 1969) 
169:39 and 171:61, and for commentary see 128 and 181-2. 

41 As for example in the reports of the diviners to the Neo-Assyrian kings, in which Enuma Anu 
Enlil is quoted: M SIG4 KUR.MAR.TU kl u pu-ru-us-su-ii a-na SES.UNUG ki na-din, "Simanu 
means the Westland and a decision (purussu) is given for Ur." Hunger, Astrological Reports 
316:6. Cf the usage in the Seleucid astronomical/astrological text TCL 6 11 r. 37 BE-ma 
ES.BAR 3,20 ana IGI-ka sa d UDU.IDIM.MES ina lu-mas KIN.KIN-ma, "In order for you 
to see an ominous decision about the king, you seek (the position) of the planets within the 
(zodiacal) constellations," see Lis Brack-Bernsen and Hermann Hunger, "TU 1 1 : A Collection 
of Rules for the Prediction of Lunar Phases and of Month Lengths," SCIAMVS 3 (2002) 12, 

42 Cyl Aviii 19, ix7-xii9. 

43 Cyl A ix 9-10, Jacobsen's translation in The Harps That Once 399. 


E Rochberg 

of schemes (mostly not yet quantitative) for a variety of phenomena related 
to problems of time-keeping (seasonal appearances of fixed-stars) and cal- 
endaric reckoning (the length of daylight and intercalations). I refer here 
of course primarily to MUL.APIN and the Astrolabe texts. The history of 
Babylonian celestial divination is therefore inseparable from the history of 
Babylonian astronomy, and the shadowy beginnings of one must in fact be 
those of the other as well. 



Martha T. Roth 

The socially expected behavior of a child toward a parent includes respect 
and obedience. This was articulated in Mesopotamian legal material in the 
obligations outlined in the constructed relationship of adoption, whereby 
the adoptee undertakes to serve, support, honor, and bury the adopter. • The 
reward for fulfilling these obligations, whether natural or constructed is in- 
heritance of the parent's estate. But, as Harris notes, "the prescriptions imply 
that the reverse was not uncommon," 2 that is, children fell short of the ex- 
pected standards specifically by failing to perform any of the required duties 
or less tangibly by failing to demonstrate a respectful attitude. Thus a mother 
wrote to her son requesting food rations, trying to shame him into fulfilling 
his duties: "Give one kor of barley for your mother, so that she not live desti- 
tute (lit., in her nakedness). (Otherwise) will not people treat you with scorn? 
Is it not a grievous thing to hear insults and scorn?" 3 Such failings — and the 
public shame and disapproval of them — are probably behind the notion of the 
severe offense characterized by arnum kabtum in the Laws of Hammurabi 
§§ 168 and 169, which, if proven, warrants disinheritance. 

Disinheritance is the anticipated consequence of a son's disrespectful 
behavior. The expected, respectful behavior is indicated by the verb palahu, 
as, for example, in the following two texts from Emar (Beckman, Emar 
RE 10 and RE 13). 

Beckman, Emar RE 10: (1) PN spoke as follows: (2-3) "There is no one to honor 
me (sa i[pallah]anni). Now, I have taken PN 2 (in adoption) to honor me (ana 
palahija) . . . (4-9) As long as (I) PN and (my) wife *PN3 live, let PN2 honor us 
(liplahanndsi). Since he will honor us (ipallahanndsi), after we die let him take 
. . . my house and all my property ..." 

Beckman, Emar RE 13: (1) PN spoke as follows: (2-3) "I took PN2, son of 
PN3, to honor me (ana palahija). (4-6) But now he no longer agrees to honor 

1 See J. C. Greenfield, "Adi baltu— Care for the Elderly and Its Rewards ," in CRRAI 28 (1982) 
309 ff.; K. R. Veenhof, "A Deed of Manumission and Adoption from the Later Old Assyrian 
Period, Its Writing, Language, and Contents in Comparative Perspective," in Studies Kraus 
359 ff.; the essays in The Care of the Elderly in the Ancient Near East (ed. M. Stol and 
S. Vleeming; SHCANE 14; Leiden: Brill, 1998). 

2 R. Harris, Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia: The Gilgamesh Epic and Other Ancient 
Literature (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000) 7 1 . 

3 D. D. Luckenbill, "Old Babylonian Letters from Bismya," AJSL 32 (1916) 271 f. no. 5:10-8, 
re-edited in M. Stol, Letters from Collections in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Berkeley (AbB 1 1 ; 
Leiden: Brill, 1986) 90 f. no. 139. 


Martha T. Roth 

me (ana palahija la imaggur). Therefore I have taken my brother PN4 to honor 
me (ana palahija) and to satisfy my creditors. (6-7) As long as (I) PN and (my 
wife) fPN5 live, let PN 4 honor us (liplahanndsi). (7-1 1) Since he will honor us 
(ipallahanndsi), after we die let PN4 take . . . my house and all my property ..." 

This appropriate respectful behavior is contrasted with actively disrespectful 
behavior (rather than with the simple absence of respect) in ASJ 13 no. 
31, in which a man designates his wife as the sole heir to all his property, 
apparently because his only living son is resident abroad. That son is named 
his mother's successor heir, conditional upon (a) his return and (b) his 
appropriate treatment of his mother. 

ASJ 13 no. 31: (7-9) Now then, my son PN is residing in a foreign land. If he 
shows up here, let him honor (liplah) his mother fpN2. (9-1 1) Should he indeed 
honor her (ipallahsi), after she dies, let him take (as heir) my house and everything 
of mine. (12-13) But if he is disrespectful (ida"inf toward his mother [ f PN2], he 
shall have [no share of the inheritance]. (14ff, fragmentary clauses, witnesses, 
seals) 5 

This disrespectful behavior is specified as verbal abuse in another Emar text 
that records the disinheritance of a son (or perhaps the annulment of an 
adoption). This interesting document, ME 105, 6 records on its obverse the 
fact of a father disinheriting one of his sons in the presence of his extended 
kin, 7 and on its reverse the salient legal factor 8 allowing this action, the son's 
disrespectful speech. 

ME 105: (1-6) Istabu ... in soundness of body and mind, seated his extended 
kin and determined the disposition of his house and his children. He declared as 

4 I agree with Tsukimoto that ana PN i-da-in (lines 12 f.) probably is an Assyrianism containing 
dananu, here and in other Emar texts, e.g., ibid. no. 20:5', with a meaning such as "to be 
disobedient to (ana)." Also, e.g., in ibid. no. 29 r. 5 (mannume anapanisi i-da-'-an SAG.DU-™ 
liptur); Beckman, Emar RE 26:19 (summa PN ... anapani PN2 u *PN3 i-da-in ...). 

5 A. Tsukimoto, "Akkadian Tablets in the Hirayama Collection (II)," ASJ 13 (1990) 294f. 
(copy 323) no. 31:7-13. 

6 ME 105, published in transliteration and translation by D. Arnaud, "La Syrie du moyen- 
Euphrate sous le protectorat hittite: contrats de droit prive," AuOr 5 (1987) 2 1 1 — 4 1 , 239 ff. no. 
17; copy in Tsukimoto, ASJ 13 (1990) 320 no. 28, with corrections to Arnaud's edition given 
on 290. The seal impressed upon ME 105 (see Arnaud 239 with n. 41, "sceau dynastique") is 
not included in D. Beyer, Emar IV: Les sceaux (OBO.SA 20; Gottingen: Editions Universitaires 
Fribourg Suisse, 2001) and apparently remains unpublished. 

7 On the "brothers" as extended kin in Emar, see C. Wilcke, "AH, die 'Briider' von Emar: 
Untersuchungen zur Schreibtradition am Euphratknie," AuOr 10(1992) 138 ff. and N. Bellotto, 
"I LUMES.ah-hi-a a Emar," AoF 22 (1995) 210-28. 

8 See M. Roth, "The Because Clause: Punishment Rationalization in Mesopotamian Laws," in 
Studies Veenhof 407—12. 


Elder Abuse: LH § 195 

(6-9) "Huha is not my son (any longer). His staff is broken. 9 Zu-Aba, Dagan- 
abu, and Yarib-Dagan are (still) my sons. (10-14) Forever, Huha has no share 
in my properties or my debts. (15-18) In the future, anyone who [...]." 

(18-20) [...] was seated, and in the presence of [...] he uttered disrespectful 
speech (megirtam idbub). 10 (2 1-24) Because (Huha spoke) thus, he (Istabu) broke 
his staff; he removed him from his status as son; verily his (only) inheritance 
portion is the gutter(?) and distressf?). 11 (24-26) Furthermore, should Huha 
initiate legal proceedings against the (other) sons of Istabu, he shall pay one 
thousand (shekels) of silver. 

(27-35) (names of eight witnesses, scribe) (36-37) Month Halma, year Dagan- 
malik, first time. Seal of Dudu. 12 

The disrespectful child thus clearly risks disinheritance. But behavior more 
extreme than simple disrespect warrants consequences more extreme than 
disinheritance. The most egregious breach of proper filial behavior is, of 
course, parricide. To my knowledge, parricide appears in the cuneiform 
sources only in cases of actual or feared regicide: King Sennacherib was 
indeed murdered by his son Arda-Mullissi, 13 and although the latter never 
gained the throne, his motivation presumably was that commonplace offered 
in the omen literature from at least the Old Babylonian period: maru abasu 
iddkma kussd isabbat, "The son will kill his father and will seize the throne." 14 
The relatively uncommon crime of a child, impatient for his inheritance, 
planning and carrying out the murder of a parent is vastly outnumbered in the 
modern legal literature by simple and aggravated assault of aged parents by 
adult children (among others). 15 This domestic elder abuse is a shadow crime, 

9 As Arnaud, "La Syrie du moyen-Euphrate" 240 n. 44 states, this symbolic gesture also 
appears in Arnaud, Emar 6 256 (typographical error there is to "246"); it is also possibly in 
the damaged text published as Arnaud, Emar 6 250. See M. Sigrist, "Gestes symboliques et 
rituels a Emar," in Ritual and Sacrifice in the Ancient Near East (ed. J. Quaegebeur; OLA 55; 
Leuven: Peeters, 1993) 388. 

10 Line 20: me-gi-ir-tam id-bu-ub, which I associate with magirtu (migirtu) (CAD M/l 44 f., 
to be cross-referenced to magritu and magru) "insult, blasphemy;" Arnaud translates "declara 
son accord," connecting to migru (migirtu) "consent, agreement." 

11 Lines 23^4: r NA4 n bi-u u du-un-nu-tum lu-ii HA.LA-sw. The expression is unknown to me; 
the first term might be bT'u "drainage opening"; dunnutu for KALAG.GA / dannatu. 

12 Reading line 37 with Tsukimoto, ASJ 13 (1990) 290. 

13 See S. Parpola, "The Murderer of Sennacherib" in CRRAI 26 (1980) 171-81; see also 
D. Wiseman, "Murder in Mesopotamia," Iraq 36 (1974) 249-60 (both cited in Harris, Gender 
and Aging 205 n. 18). 

14 YOS 10 39 r. 3, cf. YOS 19 40:21 (both OB), CT 27 12:7 (SB Summa Izbu), and passim, 
see CAD A/1 s.v. abu A mng. la. 

15 According to the September 1 998 "National Elder Abuse Incidence Study," prepared for the 
Administration on Aging and the Administration for Children and Families, "the best national 
estimate is that a total of 449,924 elderly persons, aged 60 and over, experienced abuse and/or 
neglect in domestic settings in 1996. . . . The standard error suggests that nationwide as many as 
688,948 elders or as few as 2 1 0,900 elders could have been victims of abuse and/or neglect in do- 
mestic settings in 1996." The full report is available at 


Martha T. Roth 

generally hidden by the family (even by the shamed victim); the physical 
evidence of the crime is easily explained away and dismissed. Nonetheless, 
when elder abuse does come to public light today, it causes enormous popular 
outrage. Just such social repugnance, I suggest, also is behind the ancient 
Mesopotamian ruling of LH § 195. That provision contemplates a situation 
in which a person physically assaults his father. This assault brings about 
intervention by authorities beyond the household. As a result, the offender is 
subjected to a vivid corporal sympathetic punishment. The provision reads: 16 

LH § 1 95 summa marum abasu imtahas rittasu inakkisu 

If a child/son should strike his father, they shall cut off his hand. 

To my knowledge, scholarship has not addressed a troubling point: Why 
could not the behavior of this child be handled within the family structure 
and authority? Why does what appears to be a strictly internal family 
matter — a child's tantrum and loss of control — demand resolution by an 
outside authority? The common sense answer that I offer is that the "child" 
referred to in this provision is not a youngster, but a man of sufficient age, 
physical stature, and emotional maturity to be a physical threat. The parent, 
moreover, is ineffectual in his attempts to demand or coerce the respect and 
appropriate behavior from his grown offspring that he used to expect as his 
due. The social norms are thus inverted: the younger generation disrespects 
the elder generation, the child strikes the parent. Surely just such "wrongs" 
are challenges to the king's fulfilling his role as just ruler and must be 
addressed and remedied. 17 

The history of the scholarship devoted to LH § 195 is brief. In the still- 
standard 1952 commentary of Driver and Miles, the provision is taken as the 
opening rule in a larger grouping, §§ 195-208, dealing with bodily assaults. 18 
The only question posed by Driver and Miles is: "Is the loss of the hand the 
sole penalty or can the father also disinherit his son?" 19 To answer their 
question, they bring into consideration LH §§ 168 and 169, which deal with 
the circumstances under which a father may disinherit his son. 20 Certainly, 

16 The LH is cited from M. T. Roth, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor 
(SBLWAW 6; 2nd rev. ed.; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2000) 120. 

17 See M. T. Roth, "Hammurabi's Wronged Man," JAOS 122 (2002) 38^15. 

18 G. R. Driver and J. C. Miles, The Babylonian Laws, vol. 1: Legal Commentary (Oxford: 
Clarendon Press, 1952) 406-13. In this they are followed by all commentators, e.g., A. Finet, 
Le code de Hammurapi (Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1973) 1 10: "Avec cet article commencent 
les 21 paragraphes traitant des lesions corporelles, punies, soit du talion, soit d'un talion 
restreint a la partie du corps coupable, soit d'une compensation penalisante." 

19 Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws 1411. 

20 LH § 168: summa awilum ana marisu nasahim panam istakan ana dajani marl anassah 
iqtabi dajanu warkassu iparrasuma summa marum arnam kabtam sa ina aplutim nasahim la 
ublam abum marasu ina aplutim ul inassah, "If a man should decide to disinherit his son and 


Elder Abuse: LH § 195 

Driver and Miles are correct to consider disinheritance — the usual option 
for a child's failure to respect, support, and bury a parent, as seen in the 
documents cited above — as a parental option for this more extreme behavior. 
But is disinheritance a sufficient remedy? 

Other more recent scholarship approaches LH § 195 with different ques- 
tions in mind. Otto's 1991 detailed commentary to the bodily injury rules 
in Near Eastern and biblical law collections includes LH § 195, but Otto's 
concern with § 195 is largely literary and structural; there is no comment on 
the legal circumstances posed by the protasis. 21 In my contribution to a 1995 
conference, I focused my attention within the bodily injuries laws §§ 195-2 14 
on the "cheek-slapping" provisions of LH §§ 202-25. 22 The only observa- 
tion I made there to LH §195 concerned literary structure, in line with 
Otto's literary structure observations: "The literary principles of attraction 
... are transparent. The case of the disobedient son is certainly influenced by 
the preceding paragraphs concerned with adoption, apprenticeship, and wet- 
nursing — that is, with familial and filial duties. In its turn, the provision with 
the son who 'strikes' his father then attracts the bodily injury talio rules." 23 
Although it is not explicity stated, my harking back to the cases involving 
infants and youngsters reveals that at that time I assumed LH § 195 dealt 
with a young person, and not with an adult. 

Certain biblical laws that have been deemed comparable have received 
more attention. The Covenant Code (Exod 21:1-23:12) contains a straight- 
forward injunction that, in its simple formulation and in the absence of 
details, recalls the Hammurabi provision: "He who strikes (makkeh) his fa- 
ther or his mother shall be put to death" (Exod 21:15). Two verses later, 
there is an expansion or variation: "He who belittles (meqallel) his father or 
his mother shall be put to death" (Exod 21:17). 24 A later provision 25 in the 

declares to the judges, 'I will disinherit my son,' the judges shall investigate his case and if the 
son is not guilty of a grave offense deserving the penalty of disinheritance, the father shall not 
disinherit his son." 

LH § 169: summa arnam kabtam sa ina aplutim nasahim ana abisu itbalam ana istissu 
pamsu ubbalu Summa arnam kabtam adi simsu itbalam abum marasu ina aplutim inassah, "If 
he should be guilty of a grave offense deserving the penalty of disinheritance by his father, 
they shall pardon him for his first one; if he should commit a grave offense a second time, the 
father may disinherit his son." 

21 E. Otto, Korperverletzungen in den Keilschriftrechten und im Alten Testament (AOAT 226; 
Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker, 1991) 56-70. 

22 M. T. Roth, "Mesopotamian Legal Traditions and the Laws of Hammurabi," Chicago-Kent 
Law Review 71 (1995) 13-39, esp. 24-37. 

23 Roth, "Mesopotamian Legal Traditions" 26 f. 

24 These were viewed by Alt as participial apodictic provisions; see A. Alt, "The Origins of 
Israelite Law," in Essays on Old Testament History and Religion (Oxford: Blackwell, 1966; 
repr. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989) 81-132. 

25 B. Levinson argues that the system of city-gate/elders justice is earlier than Deuteronomy's 
imposed professional judiciary, and the two never coexisted; see B. Levinson, Deuteronomy 
and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) 124ff. and 


Martha T. Roth 

Deuteronomic legislation elaborates upon both the offense and its remedy, 
although the child's behavior notably does not include physical assault upon 
the parent. But Deut 21:18-21 sets out prior conditions (previous attempts 
at parental discipline); it gives attention to a judicial process (involving the 
administration of justice by a body of elders); it provides grounds (disloyalty, 
wayward behavior); and it specifies the means of execution (stoning by the 

Deut 21:18-21 If a man has a wayward and defiant son, who does not heed his 
father or mother and does not obey them even after they discipline him, his father 
and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town 
at the public place of his community. They shall say to the elders of his town, 26 
"This son of ours is wayward and defiant; he does not heed us. He is a glutton 
and a drunkard." 27 Thereupon all the men of his town shall stone him to death. 

The puzzle for me arising from LH § 195 (and also from the Exodus passages) 
is that a parent should, under normal circumstances, have been fully within 
his rights and responsibilities to control and discipline his own child. Why 
bring any layer of officialdom into a private domestic matter? Clarification 
comes from the details of the son's behavior as expressed to the elders in 
Deut 21:20. This behavior is not that of a youngster, but that of an adult: 
defiance, disrespect, and excess. It is clear that despite their best efforts 
and intentions, the parents cannot exercise control over their fully grown 
child. 28 

So, too, in LH § 195 the parent is physically outmatched by the adult son. 
"Child" {marum) is not chronologically determined, but a socially relative 
term. It expresses not the age of an individual but his or her relationship: 
years of physical dependency upon the parent and a lifetime of social/familial 
inferiority to the senior generation. In fact, the marum in LH § 195 must be 
old enough for his offense to be more than a display of childish tantrum. 

especially 125 f. nn. 70 and 71 with summary and bibliography of other positions, particularly 
those of E. Otto (coexisting systems) and J. Gertz (arguing for a post-exilic date for the laws in 
which the elders judge). 

26 Targum Pseudo- Jonathan adds at the beginning of the parents' speech: "We have trans- 
gressed the decree of the Memra of the Lord; because of this, this son of ours ..." thus 
accepting responsibility for the son's behavior. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Deuteronomy (trans. 
E.G. Clarke; The Aramaic Bible vol. 5B; Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1998) 59. 

27 Targum Pseudo- Jonathan adds a clause allowing for the son to plead: "And it shall be, if he 
fears and heeds the instruction (offered) to him and pleads for his life, they shall let him live. 
But if he rebels anew, all the cities' men ..." Clarke, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Deuteronomy 

28 The medieval biblical commentators (Rashi, Rambam, etc.) are silent about the age of the 
"son" (ben) of Deut 21:18, of the "one who strikes" of Exod 21:15, and of the "one who 
belittles" of Exod 21:17, apparently assuming his adult status; see, too, the Jerusalem and 
Babylonian Talmuds, Tractate Sanhedrin. 


Elder Abuse: LH § 195 

His behavior must be perceived as a display of adult arrogance unacceptable 
— even repugnant — to the community. 

I maintain, therefore, that the protasis of LH § 195, summa mdrum abasu 
imtahas, indicates that an adult child has physically battered an aged parent. 
It might also be taken as elliptical for summa mdrum let abisu imtahas, 
"If a child should strike the cheek of his father," which invokes the motif 
of disrespect or dishonor directed against a social superior. 29 Although the 
extent of the physical abuse is not specified in LH § 195, in dealing with 
Exodus 21:15 the rabbinic tradition is concerned with whether or not the non- 
fatal blow leaves a bruise. 30 Such bruising apparently was decisive in a Neo- 
Babylonian case from the time of Nabonidus, in which silver compensation 
was owed for an assault to the face that resulted in a severe wound: kaspu 
sa kum tarre sa Iddinaja Iqisaja itru u ina muhhi pani imhasusuma simmu 
marsu iskunusu u ina mahar dajane eli ramanisu ukinnuma, "The silver is 
in compensation for the beating which Iddinaja gave Iqisaja, in the course of 
which he struck him in the face and inflicted upon him a terrible wound, and 
(for which) he confessed before the judges." 31 

Whether or not there is physical evidence of the abuse — lacerations, bro- 
ken bones, scarring — that the act was viewed as extreme by the social group 
is clearly indicated by the apodosis of LH § 195. Such physical mutilations 
as the cutting off of the hand serve not simply as retributive punishment but 
also (or more so) as expressions of public outrage and intended deterrents. 32 

29 See Roth, "Mesopotamian Legal Traditions" 25 ff.; K.R. Veenhof, "Old Assyrian and 
Ancient Anatolian Evidence for the Care of the Elderly," in Care of the Elderly 136 with 
n. 37. The idiom leta also appears in Emar disinheritance clauses: Beckman, Emar 
RE 15:26 (lines 22-9: sum-ma <PN it <PN 2 2 DUMU.SAL.MES-ja fpN 3 AMA-su-nu la it-ta- 
na-bal *PN3 le-td-si lu-ii ti-im-ha-as it ... a-sar it-ta-na-bal-lu-si lu-ii ti-din, "If (either of) my 
two daughters, fPN or f PN2, does not support their mother *PN3, *PN3 shall strike her cheek and 
she shall give [her possessions as inheritance instead] to whoever supports her"); S. Dalley and 
B. Teissier, "Tablets from the Vicinity of Emar and Elsewhere," Iraq 54 (1992) 103 no. 6:15 
(lines 1 1-6: sa a-na SA-bi 3 DUMU.MES-z'a AMA-su *PN ii-ul it-ta-na-bal a-na HA.LA-™ 
i-te-li le-et-ta-su lu-ii ta-am-ha-as a-na SILA-gi'.MES lu-ii ta-as-li-su, "Whichever of my three 
sons does not support his mother fpN will forfeit his inheritance share. She shall strike his 
cheek; she shall throw him out into the street"); A. Tsukimoto, "A Testamentary Document 
from Emar,'M57 16 (1994) 231:13 (lines 11-5: sum-ma PN a-na pa-ni um-mi-su u-ul um-mi 
i-qa-bi le-ta-su lu ta-am-ha-as-ma u ina KA-bi lu tu-ka-si-da-su "Should PN declare to his 
mother ' [You are] not my mother! ' she shall strike his cheek, she shall drive him out through 
the doorway"). 

30 See the comments of Rashi and Rashbam on the biblical verse (the battery leaving a visible 
wound), and see further J. Neusner, The Mishnah: A New Translation (New Haven, Conn.: Yale 
University Press, 1988) 521 ad Baba Qamma 8.3 and 8.5. 

3i BM 79049:3-8, see C. Wunsch, "Die Jugendsiinden eines Babyloniers," AoF 24 (1997) 


32 In a presentation to the American Oriental Society in Baltimore, March 23,1999, in a plenary 

session on "Crime and Punishment," I discussed some implications of physical penalties, 

unusual penalties, sympathetic penalties, etc., for our understanding of Mesopotamian notions 

of deterrence and punishment; a revision of that essay is in preparation. 


Martha T. Roth 

The only other cuneiform evidence known to me of assault of a parent 
is found in one Middle Babylonian text from Nippur, PBS 2/2 1 16. 33 There, 
among a dozen persons held in captivity, several because of offenses commit- 
ted against the governor of Nippur, we find two individuals held for assault 
against family members: 34 

(8) ... Usi-anne'a mar [...] (9) assum ummasu ittu ... (15) Hulalu mar Illma-ili 
assum ahasu rabdm imhasu 

(8-9) Usi-anne'a, son of [...], because he beat his mother ... (15) Hulalu, son of 
Ilima-ili, because he struck his older brother. 

There are two different verbs used in PBS 2/2 116 to express the assaults. 
The first, natu, used to express aggressive physical assault, both officially 
sanctioned punishments (e.g., LH § 127) and spontaneous outbursts of ag- 
gression, 35 here characterizes the battery of a mother. The second mahasu, 
the common verb "to strike," used in various specialized and idiomatic us- 
ages, and used in the Hammurabi passage under discussion to signify the 
assault on a parent, here in PBS 2/2 116 characterizes the assault upon a 
sibling. But note that because the sibling is identified as an "older brother" — 
potentially a father-figure and possibly the head of the household — the crime 
evokes the underlying theme of disrespect for elders of LH § 195. 

Physical battery of a parent by grown offspring is, regrettably, one of the 
social abnormalities with which human cultures contend. The Hammurabi 
law collection confronts this theme of intergenerational conflict and disre- 
spect by bringing the abuse out of the privacy of the domestic realm and into 
the public eye, where it is dealt with decisively and dramatically. 

33 The text is mentioned in E. Ebeling, "Gefangener, Gefangnis," RIA 3 181; it is included in 
my forthcoming Law Cases from Mesopotamia. I thank Daniel Nevez for supplying me with 
study photographs of CBS 12904. 

34 Note the use of assum to mark the offense; see Roth, "The Because Clause" 407-12. 

35 See CAD N/2 s.v. natu v. mngs. 1 and 4. 



JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 1 

Regulars in the Student's Room at the British Museum know it as a very 
special place where one encounters a degree of generous sharing of informa- 
tion and collegiality that is unparalleled. When Scurlock and her husband 
Richard Beal, made their first extended visit, Erie greeted them with a smile 
and said "You'll be back!" and he was right. While burrowing in the Sippar 
collection with the help of Erie's wonderful catalogue, Scurlock ran across 
an interesting example of what is usually termed a Kalendertext, which she 
thought he would enjoy. This late Persian or early Seleucid text, 2 of which 
only part of the reverse is preserved recommends ingredients for an amulet, 
fumigant, and salve to be employed under the influence of various signs of 
the zodiac. 

BM 76483 3 (Fig. 1) 

V [". . .] V SAHAR r KA ilS-tar 1 [ina LBUR ES-su nap-sal-tu sd TA 

2' [E]N UD.28.KAM APINUD.15.KAM x [...] 

* Or: A (Seven Day) Week(var. Weak)-ness for Hellenism. Since both readings make a 
modicum of sense in this context and since it is Hellenism we are talking about, the Classical 
philological principle of lectio difficilior should apply; hence, the more difficult reading of 
Week-ness is to be preferred. 

1 The text was originally found and transliterated by Scurlock. It was subsequently copied by 
Al-Rawi, who also made a number of improvements in readings. The discussion is largely the 
work of Scurlock with further input by Al-Rawi. The authors would further like to thank for 
comments and suggestions Richard Beal, who would like to wish his honored teacher a long, 
happy and productive retirement. We would further like to thank Michael Murrin and Hermann 
Hunger who read all or parts of an earlier draft of this paper. They, of course, should not be 
blamed for any faults that may remain. After this article was submitted for publication, it came 
to the authors' attention that Nils P. HeeBel had an article in press on tablet BM 76483 entitled 
"Stein, Pfanze und Holz. Ein neuer Text zur 'medizinischen Astrologie,'" OrNS 75 (2005) 
1-22. However, since the two articles hardly overlapped in content, the three authors decided 
to publish both articles unchanged. 

2 The presence of the zodiac indicates a date in the fourth century BCE or later. The signs of 
the zodiac are, however, fully written out whereas Seleucid texts (e.g. , BRM 419) generally use 
abbreviations. See Francesca Rochberg-Halton, "New Evidence for the History of Astrology," 
JNES 43 (1984) 118-9 for a general discussion and chart of the full and abbreviated forms; cf. 
Arthur Ungnad, "Besprechungskunst und Astrologie in Babylonien," AfO 14 (1944) 256-8. 

3 The authors wish to thank the Trustees of the British Museum for permission to publish this 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 


4' ina TUG.GADA ina GU.GADA <GAG.GAG> 1 ^ZU.SIG 7 KI me-eli [E ina 

G\]-su GAR KU.KU s i§ U.SUH 5 ] 
5' SAR-iM U DILI SAHAR 6«MA ni-bi-ri ina T . [BUR ES-su] 
6' nap-sal-tu sd TA UD.l.KAM EN UD7.KAM GAN UD1[5.KAM ...] 


8' 1 NA 4 . d LAMMA KI me-eli E ina GU-™ GAR s i5 SEM I [HI.HI SAR-lw] 
9' NUMUN GADA I.UDU MAS ina I.BUR ES-su nap-sal-tu sd TA 

U[D.8.KAM EN UD.14.KAM] 
10' ABUD.15.KAMawaEDIN[...] 

11' ZIZ KI MUL GULA ^KVR-nu gi§ILDAG mk-tam SAHAR [KA d BE ina 

12' ina GU.GADA GAG.GAG 1 ™*K\JR-nu KI me-eli E ina GU-su [GAR 

1 3' "ak-tam SAHAR KA d BE ina I.BUR [ES-su] 
14' nap-sal-tu sd TA UD15.KAM EN UD.21.KAM ZIZ UD r 15 n .[KAM . . .] 

15' [S]E KI KUN.MES ^lu-lu-da-ni-tum g«MES.MA.GANN[A . . .] 

1 6' [ina] KUS SAL.AS.GAR ina KUS ri-si-it MIN E <GAG.GAG> 1 ™4u-lu-d[a- 

1 7' [K]I me-eli E ina GU-™ GAR KU.KU g«MES.MA.GAN.NA SAR-w [ . . . ] 
1 8' [ina] I.BUR ES-os nap-sal-tu sd TA UD22.KAM EN UD28.KAM SE 


19' [x] x ITI.KIN DI.RH a-ki-i MUL 4 .LUMAS DU ITI d[15 . . .] 5 

20' [x x x x] x ha-ma-am NUMUN KUR.KUR kib-rit BAR MUS 
21' [...] x x u : I x xx 6 

Several lines missing. 

I.e. 1 . [. . .] GIS.NAGA NAGA DINGIR-™ KAR-sti [. . .] 

4 At this late date, using syllabic Sumerian to render DIRI would be unusual, but second Ullulu 
would be appropriate. For the possibility that some of Weidner's texts might also originally 
have included an intercalary month, see Nils P. HeeBel, Babylonisch-assyrische Diagnostik 
(AOAT 43; Munster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2000) 114. The fragmentary sign at the beginning of the 
line could be a TAR from [ d Is]-tar or a GAM or part of a KAM (restoring [UD.x.KjAM). 

5 "[...] second Ullulu when acting as a sign of the Zodiac, month of [Istar. ..]" The translitera- 
tion follows a suggestion by H. Hunger (personal communication). For lumasu as a sign of the 
Zodiac, see Abraham Sachs, "Babylonian Horoscopes," JCS 6 (1952) 71. 

6 After the I there could be UDU, but GIS.ERIN would also be possible. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

l'-2' [You rub him with . . . plant] (and) dust from the Istar gate [inpwrw-oil. 
Salve for (the period) from the 22nd t]o the 28th of Arahsamna. On the 
3 '-6' Kishmu is in the region of Sagittarius (= Nov/Dec): green ("yellow") 

obsidian, asuhu-vtooA, ["lone plant" (and) dust from a ferry boat]. (You 
sew it up) in a linen cloth with a linen thread. [You string on] one piece 
of green obsidian as an amulet (and) [put it on his neck]. You fumigate 
him with [powdered asuhu-vmodi\. [You rub him with] "lone plant" 
(and) dust from a ferry boat in \puru\-oi\. Salve for (the period) from 
the 1 st to the 7th of Kislimu. On the 1 [5th ... ] 
7—10' Tebetu is in the region of Capricorn (= Dec/Jan): lamassu-stom, 

aromatic wood, flax seed, <and goat fat>. [You sew it up] in a [linen] 
cloth [with a linen thread]. You string on one lamassu-stone as an 
amulet (and) put it on his neck. You [mix] aromatic wood (with) oil 
(and) [fumigate him (with it)]. You rub him with flax seed (and) goat fat 
inpuru-oi\. Salve for (the period) from the [8th to the 14th] of Tebetu. 
On the 15th, to the steppe [. . .] 

1 1'— 14' Sabatu is in the region of Aquarius (Jan./Feb.). Hematite, addru-poplar, 
aktam-plant (and) dust [from the gate of Enlil], You sew (them) up 
[in a linen cloth] with a linen thread. You string on one hematite as an 
amulet (and) [put (it)] on his neck. [You fumigate him with powdered 
adaru-poplar wood. You rub him] with aktam-plant (and) dust from the 
gate of Enlil mpuru-oiL Salve for (the period) from the 15th to the 21st 
of Sabatu. On the 15th [...]. 

15'— 18' Addaru is in the region of Pisces (Feb./Mar.). Luludanltu-stone, 
musukkannu-wood, [x -plant, etc.]. You sew them up [in] the skin 
of a virgin she-goat with a leather strap for ditto. You string on one 
lulud[anitu]-stom as an amulet (and) put (it) on his neck. You fumigate 
him with powdered musukkannu-wood. You rub on [x-plant, etc. in] 
puru-oil. Salve for (the period) from the 22nd to the 28th of Addaru. On 
the [15th...]. 
19' [. . .] second Ululu, when it acts as a zodiacal sign, month of [Istar . . .] 

20'-2 1 ' [ . . . ] chaff, aid 'isu-seed, sulphur, snake skin [ . . . ] oil [ . . . ] 
(several lines missing) 

The text, most of which is now lost, would originally have outlined instruc- 
tions for all of the signs of the Zodiac, beginning with Aries (Nisannu) and 
terminating with Pisces (Sabatu). In each section, an inventory is given of 
the necessary items followed by instructions for their use. We shall return 
to the fumigant and amulet presently, but to be noted here is the fact that, 
in each case, the salve is to be applied for one seven day week out of the 

The division of the month into four weeks of seven days may seem 
perfectly natural to us, and we might assume, since our seven days of the 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

week are associated with the sun, moon, and the five planets that were known 
to ancient Mesopotamian astronomers, that this system came to us from 
Mesopotamia by way of Genesis 1-2. However, there is scant evidence for 
any form of week from ancient Mesopotamia and what evidence there is 
seems rather to point to a five- or six-day week (hamustu). Yet here we have 
the seven-day week. Also curious is that, rather than having all of the salves 
applied, say for the first week of every month, the instructions envision the 
practitioner rubbing on the appropriate salve in the first week of the first 
month, the second week of the second month, the third week of the third 
month, the fourth week of the fourth month, the first week again of the fifth 
month and so on, thus progressing through the four weeks of the month three 
times over during the course of a year. We shall have more to say about this 
presently, but note here the fact that the system presented by BM 76483 is 
not exactly paralleled in any other text of its genre. 

One Tradition or Many? 

What is particularly interesting about the group of late Babylonian texts to 
which BM 76483 belongs, the so-called Kalendertexte, is the diversity that 
characterizes them. For example, unlike BM 76483, BM 43558 and parallels 
(published by I. Finkel 7 ) do not include fumigants (which were medical rather 
than magical for the physician, unsolicited-omen expert and now astrologer, 
the dsipu). s Another obvious difference is that the magical stones of Finkel's 
texts were meant to be ground up in a salve. More curious is the fact that 
the stones in question do not correspond for any of the months represented 
by BM 76483. There is also some variation in Finkel's texts in the lubricant 
used for the salve, which in BM 76483 is invariably puru-o\\. Last but by no 
means least is the fact that Finkel's texts give no hint that the months were 
divided into four weeks of seven days as is clearly the case with BM 76483. 
Similarly, YBC 9833 9 uses no fumigants and no stones and wraps each 
plant used in a different animal skin corresponding to the month, which by 
now perhaps not surprisingly is not on the same system as the animal fat 
of Finkel's texts (e.g., APIN is dog skin in YBC 9833 r. 9 but fox fat in 
BM 43700+:7). The plants are again not used for the same months as in 
BM 76483 (e.g., GAN is giSTJ.SUH 5 , "fir," and not g«HA§HUR, "apple," as 
in YBC 9833: 10) and the months are again not divided into seven-day weeks. 

7 Irving Finkel, "On Late Babylonian Medical Training," in Studies Lambert 212-5 . 

8 See JoAnn Scurlock, Magico-Medical Means of Treating Ghost Induced Illnesses in Ancient 
Mesopotamia (AMD 3; Leiden: Brill, 2006), 23-65. 

9 See HeeBel, Diagnostik 125-6. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

The text presented as SpTU 3 104-5 10 also uses animal fat, hair, and 
blood in its salves, the choice of which salve to use being dictated by a 
fanciful reference to the animal associated with the relevant sign of the 
Zodiac (e.g., ram for Aries and bull for Taurus). Need we say it? This may 
be perfectly logical but it is not what dictated the choice of ingredients for 
salves in Finkel's texts, which use cedar oil for both Aries and Libra, tortoise 
fat instead of rooster for Gemini and goat fat instead of crab for Cancer, and 

so on. 


The obverse of BM 56605, another text found via Erie's catalogue, and 
the reverse of BM 47755 12 are ostensibly identical to YBC 9833, having 
exactly the same sequence of plants wrapped in skins of exactly the same 
animals. This apparent duplication is, however, an illusion. If you had two 
persons, each of whom was to follow the instructions given in his assigned 
text, in no month of the year would these two persons be wearing the same 
amulet. This follows from the fact that YBC 9833 begins with Aries and 
ends with Pisces, whereas the obverse of BM 56605 begins with Aquarius 
and ends with Capricorn. 

What would appear to have happened is that a fixed sequence of twelve 
amulets was applied mechanically to two different calendars so that the first 
amulet was worn in the first month, the second in the second month and 
so on. One of these calendars, that beginning with Aries (March/ April) is 
the traditional calendar of ancient Mesopotamia. The other would appear 
to be the Roman calendar introduced in 153 BCE, which commences with 
Aquarius (January /February). 

The reverse of BM 56605 contains a micro-zodiac giving a stone, a wood 
a plant, a month, a day, and a food taboo, which, just to be contrary, begins 
with Nisannu and Aries. (This would be normal for Mesopotamia in general, 
but the system presented on the text's own obverse begins with Aquarius.) The 
reverse also manages to put NU.UR.MA (pomegranate) in Cancer instead 
of Capricorn (YBC 9833:11) or Scorpio (its own obverse). A number of 
similar texts with sequences of temples, woods, plants, and stones edited 
by Weidner 13 agree neither with each other nor with any of the previously 
discussed texts with the rare exception of NU.UR.MA (pomegranate) for 
Capricorn on the reverse of VAT 7847+. 

10 For a summary of this text with explanations, see Erica Reiner, Astral Magic in Babylonia 
(TAPS 85; Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1995) 116-7. 

11 The fourth month of the Mesopotamian calendar is associated with Dumuzi, which is 
presumably why goat fat is being used for Cancer in Finkel's texts. 

12 HeeBel, Diagnostik 117-30. 

13 Ernst Weidner, Gestirn-Darstellungen auf babylonischen Tontafeln (SOAW 254/11; Vienna: 
Bohlau in Kommission, 1967) 18, 30, 35 and 36. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

Harvest of Hellenism 

What we have here stumbled upon, as it were by accident, is what we should 
already have realized namely that Hellenistic Babylonia was Hellenistic and 
not just Babylonian. Geographically, Babylonia was a crossroads where the 
diverse cultures of the ancient Near East met and mingled. From Persia 
came the astrological imperative. For Mazdeans, only Ahura Mazda was, 
properly speaking, a god. The remaining divinities were reduced to the status 
of divine beings of whom even the good ones were little more than the 
personified spiritual powers of Ahura Mazda. It was only possible for these 
"lords" to preserve a continuing role in the causation of terrestrial events 
if they could be reduced to the status of depersonalized planetary forces of 

From Ionia, the cultural center of the Greek world came the philosophi- 
cal underpinnings of this new system of thought. With the conquest of Ionia 
in the 6th century BCE and the concomitant attraction of Ionian philoso- 
pher/scientists to the Persian court (as, for example, the 4th century Cnidian 
physician, Ctesias) there began the long process of assimilation that produced 
astrology as we know it. Over the course of the fifth to fourth centuries BCE, 
the signs of the zodiac were given their modern assignments, and the first 
horoscopes began to be produced in Babylonia. 14 

From Babylonia came the division of the year into twelve months and the 
knowledge of mathematics and astronomy necessary to make astrological 
calculations, which is why "Chaldeans" were in such demand as astrologers. 
From Palestine came the seven-day week; from Egypt the idea of a solar 
calendar and of dividing the day into twenty-four rather than twelve hours, 
and so on. 15 

An often overlooked but crucial element in the mingling of cultures under 
the Persians and Seleucids and the subsequent rule of "philhellene" Parthians 
was the Jewish diaspora, the presence of whose node center in Babylonia 
ensured the addition of the Palestinian and Egyptian elements to the mix. 
The employment of members of this diaspora as mercenaries and military 
colonists by Ptolemaic and Seleucid rulers made them ideal mediators of 

As with Hellenistic scholars everywhere, these "Greeks" (often well-to- 
do locals with Greek names) would have spent the majority of their time 
splitting into hostile schools and arguing endlessly with each other, a feature 
that Sextus Empiricus (in a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black) 

14 See Ulla Koch-Westenholz, Mesopotamian Astrology (CNIP 19; Copenhagen: Museum 
Tusculanum, 1995) 162-79. 

15 F. Rochberg, "Astronomy and Calendars in Ancient Mesopotamia," CANE 3 1931; G. Ro- 
bins, "Mathematics, Astronomy, and Calendars in Pharaonic Egypt," CANE 3 1811-3. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

attributes particularly to "Chaldeans." 16 The number of different ways in 
which the collective wisdom of East and West could be pooled was probably 
limited but there were certainly more ways than one. For example, a Seleucid 
text from Uruk assigns various parts of the liver to specific constellations 17 
and another late text, yet unpublished combines a section of astrological 
medicine with of all things a numerical system for the incantations of the 
ninth tablet ofSurpu (purificatory rituals to loosen oaths and curses). 18 

(If at First You Don't Succeed) Trine, Trine Again: Magical Uses of 
Trine Aspect 

As we have seen above, in BM 74683, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius had 
their salves applied in the first week of the month, Taurus, Virgo, and 
Capricorn in the second week, and so on with the result that each salve would 
have been applied a magical three times during the course of a year. This 
particular arrangement predates the emergence of the signs of the zodiac, 
being originally groupings of months of the year for purposes of astral 
divination. 19 However, by the time of the Hellenized Egyptian astronomer 
Ptolemy, this original pattern had developed into a system of triplicities (four 
groups of three months/zodiacal signs each) intimately associated with five 
governing planets known as "lords" of triplicities (Jupiter, Venus, the twins 
Saturn and Mercury, and Mars) who appear in a specific rotating sequence 
associated with the four wind directions. 20 

North is associated with Jupiter who governs the first triplicity (signs 
1,5,9), meaning that Jupiter comes first, followed by Venus, then Saturn 
and Mercury (who always appear together), and finally Mars. South is 
associated with Venus who governs the second triplicity (signs 2,6,10), 
meaning that Venus comes first, followed by Saturn and Mercury, Mars, 
and finally Jupiter. West is associated with Saturn and Mercury who govern 
the third triplicity (signs 3,7,1 1) meaning that they come first, followed by 
Mars, Jupiter, and finally Venus. East is associated with Mars who governs the 

16 "About these there is no little disagreement among them (the Chaldeans) and in their tablets 
too" (Sextus Empiricus, Math. V38). The text in question is a polemic that, interestingly, bases 
the bulk of its argument "Against the Astrologers" on the impossibility of science in the modern 
sense of the word (predicting the date of conception on the basis of cessation of menses and 
the appearance of pica — V62-3, measuring time with a waterclock — V75-7 and making direct 
observations of the stars — V79-85). 

17 SpTU 4 159; see Reiner, Astral Magic 78-9. For association of stars with parts of the human 
body, see E. Reiner, "Two Babylonian Precursors of Astrology," NABU 1993/26. According to 
Sextus Empiricus, the latter practice was a characteristic of Chaldean astrology (Math. V22). 

18 Irving Finkel, "Mussu'u, Qutaru, and the Scribe Tanittu-Bel," in Studies Civil 97 n. 9. 
w Tetrabiblos 1.18. See Rochberg-Halton, JNES 43 (1984) 128-9 with n. 50. 

20 For citation and helpful charts, see Rochberg-Halton, JNES 43 (1984) 124-7. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

fourth triplicity (4,8,12), meaning that Mars comes first, followed by Jupiter, 
Venus, and finally Saturn and Mercury. The entire system is said by Ptolemy 
to be "Chaldean," 21 by which he presumably means that it was recorded 
in "Chaldea" (Babylonia) and in the "Chaldean" language (Akkadian or 
Aramaic) rather than in Greek. 

Is BM 74683, then, an example of "Chaldean" wisdom? Since four 
substances are mentioned for each month, each sequence of ingredients 
should in principle, represent one of the four triplicities, if this text is 
indeed an example of the system described by Ptolemy. But which triplicity 
is which? The salves intended for rubbing on the practitioner each month 
contain, besides plants about which more shall be said presently, the following 
ingredients in this order: 

Sagittarius: SAHAR s i5 MA ni-bi-ri 
Capricorn: I.UDU MAS 
Aquarius: SAHAR KA d BE 
Pisces: SAHAR KA ilS-tar®- 

Equating these entries with the five planets governing each triplicity, ac- 
cording to Ptolemy, namely Jupiter, Venus, the twins (Gemini): Saturn and 
Mercury, and Mars is actually quite easy. d BE is Enlil, i.e., Jupiter; d Is-tar 
is Venus; the river crossing boat is an obvious reference to the ferryman 
of the netherworld whose entrance is guarded by the Twin Gods (Lugal- 
girra and Meslamtaea), that is, Saturn and Mercury. The final ingredient is 
goat fat. Goats are generally associated with Dumuzi, and Dumuzi is the 
"hireling" who gives his Babylonian name to the constellation known to us 
as Aries. According to Classical astrology at any rate, Aries is the "house" of 
Mars (known in Akkadian as Salbatanu). 23 Substituting Ptolemy's "lords of 
triplicities" for their Akkadian counterparts yields the following sequence. 

Sagittarius: Saturn and Mercury 
Capricorn: Mars 
Aquarius: Jupiter 
Pisces: Venus 

This is Ptolemy's third triplicity. Unfortunately, not enough is known by 
this modern author about the stones listed to know the appropriateness of 
attributions of amulet stones to specific divinities with the exception of 
na iKUR-«M (hematite) whose qualities of attraction are well suited to equation 


22 The entry is broken but may presumably be restored from line V, which recorded the salve 
for another member of its triplicity. 

23 See Daniel Foxvog, "Astral Dumuzi," in Studies Hallo 106. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

with Istar = Venus. Since Luluddnitu is sometimes described as looking like 
two different stones, 24 it may have been thought appropriate for the twin 
gods. As hematite and luluddnitu are the third and fourth of the stones, the 
amulets will have represented the fourth triplicity commencing with Mars, 
as follows. 

Sagittarius: "^ZU.SIGv = Mars 

Capricorn: NA^LAMMA = Jupiter 

Aquarius: na 4KUR-«M = Venus 

Pisces: w 4u-lu-da-ni-tum = Saturn and Mercury 

It is not safe to presume that the stones used in the amulets were chosen for 
their colors (as opposed to some other association with the relevant gods). 
However, since obsidian comes in more than one color, the specification of 
"yellow" probably indicates that it was specifically the obsidian's color that 
governed its choice for Mars. 25 Since, moreover, by the "Chaldean" system, 
the four winds are supposed to correspond to the four sets of "lords," we may 
presume that a further encoding is involved presumably of the four primary 
colors somehow linked up with these four winds. But which color with which 

Helpfully, the plants used in the salves along with the dust, etc. are quite 
obviously color-coded. "Lone plant" is also known as the "red plant," so 
Sagittarius was red. Flax seed is white, and so was Capricorn. Aktam is 
called the "black plant" so Aquarius was black. By process of elimination, 
Pisces was yellow/green (the actual plant is missing but most plants are this 
color anyway). Assigning yellow to Mars yields the following sequence. 

Sagittarius: U DILI = red = Jupiter 
Capricorn: NUMUN GADA = white = Venus 
Aquarius: "ak-tam = black = Saturn and Mercury 
Pisces: [. . .] = yellow = Mars 

Lhis is Ptolemy's first triplicity. The use of these plants in the salve is 
presumably, then, due to the associated planets being "lords" of the triplicity. 
The remaining wood sequence, used as fumigants, is presumably the missing 
second triplicity as follows. 

Sagittarius: s i5 U.SUH5 = Venus 
Capricorn: s i5 SEM = Saturn and Mercury 

24 E.g., ™4NIR and ^MUS.GIR; for references, see CAD L 243-4. 

25 In classical astrology, Mars is the "red planet." The association is also attested from ancient 
Mesopotamia (for references see CAD M/l s.v. makru). However, Jupiter and Venus could also 
be described as "red" (for references, see CAD S 129). 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

Aquarius: s i5 ILDAG = Mars 

Pisces: g' s MES.MA.GAN.NA = Jupiter 

The listing stone, wood, plant, and dust, etc. is related to the use to which 
each ingredient is put — i.e., the plant and the dust appear together because 
they are both in the salve. Rearranging the list to reflect the sequence of 
triplicities represented by these ingredients yields the following pattern, a 
rotating series of triplicities. 

Sagittarius 1-7 = Mars (stone 4); Marduk (plant 1); Istar (wood 2); Twin Gods 
(etc. 3) 

Capricorn 8-14 = Marduk (stone 1); Istar (plant 2); Twin Gods (wood 3); Mars 
(etc. 4) 

Aquarius 15-21 = Istar (stone 2); Twin Gods (plant 3); Mars (wood 4); Marduk 
(etc. 1) 

Pisces 22-28 = Twin gods (stone 3); Mars (plant 4); Marduk (wood 1); Istar 
(etc. 2) 

Ptolemy's system also assigns to each triplicity one of the four elements. 26 
Coordinating these elements with the four primary colors would, if arranged 
into a square, yield the following pattern. 

North = Fire = Red 
West = Air = White East = Water = Yellow 
South = Earth = Black 

Substituting winds for numbers in accordance with Ptolemy's "Chaldean" 
system of North = 1 , South = 2, West = 3 and East = 4 ought, therefore, 
to produce a sequence of colors: red, black, white and yellow for the first 
triplicity. In fact, as we have seen, the order of colors in the first triplicity 
is instead red, white, black, and yellow. What has apparently happened in 
our text is that the four winds have been put in the order: North, West, 
South and East, which is quite simply the cardinal directions arranged in a 
magic circle. In principle, it would be possible to assign north to any point 
in this circle as long as the basic sequence was preserved, and indeed this 
is what seems to have happened in SpTU 2 43:18-9 in which an amulet is 
employed representing north, west, south and east by color beginning with 
white, yielding a sequence of white, black, yellow and red. This text also 

26 See W. Hartner and P. Kunitzsch, "Mintaqat al Burudj," Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.: 
Leiden: Brill, 1991) 7: 84-5. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

employs a second amulet in the form of a magic circle in which the first two 
and last two signs of the zodiac are represented by a skin: Ram for Aries and 
Ox for Taurus plus a Mule and the Horse of Pegasus. 

Yet another magic circle is to be found in the arrangement of seven-day 
weeks and triplicities in Iqisa's Seleucid Kalendertexten, SpTU 3 104-5. 
These texts represent two tablets of a rotational scheme whereby each day 
of the month, commencing with the 1st of Du'uzu > Aries 7 was equated 
with another sign of the zodiac exactly nine signs and seven days from the 
previous one. It has been speculated that the motivation for this pattern is that 
277 days (9 x 30+7) is the human gestation period. 27 However, the obvious 
motivation, apart from the fact that this rotation will get you back to your 
starting point at the end of twelve months, is that Cancer and Aries (which 
are nine signs of the Zodiac apart) are both closely associated with Dumuzi, 
that nine is three times three, and that there are seven days in the week. 28 

What we are looking at, then, in SpTU 3 104-5 is a schema for discovering 
for each day of the month, a second day of another month that might exercise 
an influence over it. With the exception of Libra and Scorpio, 29 the influencing 
sign was cancelled by means of an apotropaic salve composed of appropriate 
ingredients (e.g., ram blood, fat, and wool for Aries). 30 

In one case in Sp TU 3 104:12 = Cancer 12, an accidental conjunction with 
Virgo 24 necessitated an addition of a further ingredient to the salve, which 
was then consistently applied to all days falling under the influence of Virgo. 
As it happens, we know from BRM 4.20: 33-34 // BRM 4.19:26-27, that 
this precise conjunction was appropriate for the performance of sorcerous 
rites involving ghosts. It is a well known fact that sigusu flour was "reserved 
for / offensive to" (ikkibu) ghosts, 31 which is presumably why this ingredient 
is being used in salves to cancel Virgo. 

Of interest to us in view of BM 76483 and SpTU 2 43:18-9 's magic 
circles involving triplicities (see above) is the pattern presented by the first 
four entries of SpTU 3 104. In each case, what is produced is a pattern of 
three numbers of which the first and third are identical, thus encircling the 
second as follows. 

The first of Du'uzu > Aries 7, which is the first week of the first sign of the first 
triplicity, yielding a pattern of 1,1,1. 

27 Reiner, Astral Magic 115. 

28 Admittedly, Istar plays an important role in human pregnancies, but Iqisa's scheme seems 
rather to be centered around her lover Dumuzi. 

29 For these months the enigmatic KI.KAL-rtw appears followed by a reflex SES or MIN 
(SpTU 3 104: 3, 7, 16, 20, 29; 105: 4, 9, 17, 22, 26, 30). The most likely interpretation is that 
KI.KAL stands for teriqtu from riaqu: "to be empty, idle, unprofitable" — in other words, the 
practitioner was to do nothing. 

30 For a discussion of the salves and their appropriateness, see Reiner, Astral Magic 116-7. 

31 For references, see CAD S/2 261a in the lexical section. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

The second of Du'uzu > Capricorn 14, which is the second week of the third sign 
of the second triplicity, yielding a pattern of 2,3,2. 

The third of Du'uzu > Libra 21, which is the third week of the second sign of the 
third triplicity, yielding a pattern of 3,2,3 

The fourth of Du'uzu > Cancer 28, which is the fourth week of the first sign of 
the fourth triplicity, yielding a pattern of 4,1,4. 

If the trine aspect was important for the Kalendertexte that we have been 
studying, it was a significant feature of more obviously astrological texts 
such as LBAT 1593 and 1597. 32 This latter text presents the stars or signs of 
the zodiac in a specific order in accordance with the gods invoked as follows: 
Jupiter (= Marduk), Venus, (= Istar), Mercury and Saturn (= Lugalgirra and 
Meslamtaea), Mars (= Ningirsu), Venus (= Istar). This represents the first 
and the beginning of Ptolemy's second triplicity 

The four triplicities also appear in LBAT 1593, where they are defined as 
consisting of groups of masculine and feminine signs that may be used to 
predict the sex and number of children. As Sextus Empirus in his account 
of "Chaldean" wisdom, explains, "masculine and feminine (signs) are those 
that possess a nature which aids the birth of males or females." 33 

6' . . . : BAR NE u GAN NITA : GU 4 KIN u AB S[AL: SIG 4 DU 6 u ZIZ 

7' SU APIN u SE SAL : ds-su MUL.BABBAR ina KI SAL.MES KI d 30 

GUB-zm NITA U.TU : as-su d TURDIS lu[,..] 
8' ina KI SAL.MES KI 30 NITA U.TU : as-su d GU 4 .UD ina KI.MES sd NITA 

9' sa d DIL.BAT KI.MIN-ma : ds-su & Sal-bat-a-nu ina MUL.MAS.MAS KI 30 

MAS.TAB.BA U.TU : as-su d TURDIS u d Sal-[bat-a-nu KI 30] 
10' 2-ta <NITA>.ME§ U.TU : as-su d GU 4 .UD u-lu dTUR.DIS KI 30 NITA u 

SAL: as-su GU 4 .UD u OIL.BAT 
1 1' KI 30 2-ta SAL.MES : as-su MUL.BABBAR ana ziq-pi GUB-zm NITA u 

SAL sd U.TU SIG 5 : ds-su MUL.BABBAR ina MAS SAL 

d UDUIDIM gab-bi KI.MIN-ma : MAS DIS LU.TUR a-lid 
13' dUDUIDIM sd ina IGI sd dUDUIDIM.MES anaxxa tu KUR-du su-u 

sim-tum i-sd-am-su 
14' SIG 5 u HUL KI d UDUIDIM tus-tab-bal 

32 For more details on these texts and BRM 4 19-20, see JoAnn Scurlock, "'Chaldean' 
Astrology from Selected Cuneiform Sources" (AfO forthcoming). 

33 See Sextus Empiricus, Math. V6-9, where he describes the system of masculine and 
feminine signs of the zodiac and micro zodiac. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

Nisannu, Abu, and Kislimu (the first triplicity) are masculine. Ayyaru, Ullulu, 
and Tebetu (the second triplicty) are fem[inine. Simanu, Tasrltu, and Sabatu 
(the third triplicity) are masculine]. Du'uzu, Arahsamna, and Addaru (the fourth 
triplicity) are feminine. Because Jupiter stands in the region of the feminine signs 
(of the zodiac) with the moon, she will give birth to a boy. Because Saturn or 
[Mars] (stands) in the region of feminine signs (of the zodiac) with the moon, 
she will give birth to a boy. Because Mercury (stands) in the region of masculine 
or feminine (signs of the zodiac) with the moon, r she will give birth" 1 to a girl. 
For Venus it is the same. Because Mars (stands) in Gemini with the moon, she 
will give birth to twins. Because Saturn and Ma[rs (stand) with the moon], she 
will give birth to two boys. Because Mercury or Saturn (stands) with the moon, 
a boy and a girl. Because Mercury and Venus (stand) with the moon, two girls. 
Because Jupiter stands at the culmination, the boy or girl to which she gives birth 
will be handsome. Because Jupiter (stands at the culmination), among twins, the 
female or male will die; because Jupiter (stands at the culmination), in the land 
a male or female will die. For all of the planets it is the same. (When) twins or a 
child is born, the planet that is in front when the (other) planets reach [. . .] is the 
one that decides his fate. You interpret (the signs) as good or bad (depending on) 
the influence of the planets. 

The assignment of alternating masculine and feminine characteristics to the 
signs of the zodiac is conventionally attributed to Pythagoras. 34 However, it 
is to be noted that LBAT 1593 gives its listing by triplicity in accordance 
with the conventional grouping of Babylonian months for purposes of astral 
divination, 35 not with the signs of the zodiac. This would seem to suggest that 
Pythagoras's division of the ecliptic into diurnal (masculine) and nocturnal 
(feminine) signs 36 is, like his eponymous theorem, actually a resetting and 
reinterpretation of ideas originally borrowed from Mesopotamia. 


Groupings of the months of the year into three sets of four for purposes 
of astral divination positively begged for astrological development, but 
efforts were made to find even less obvious candidates for such treatment a 
home in the stars. According to a late Persian or early Seleucid 37 esoteric 
commentary (RA 62 52), 3S the series Summa izbu (the ominous significance 

34 See Rochberg-Halton, JNES 43 (1984) 123-4. 

35 For a listing, see Rochberg-Halton, JNES 43 (1984) 128 n. 50. 

36 The Greek justification for the assignment of sex to the signs of the zodiac in terms of day 
and night is described in Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos 1.12. 

37 The presence of the zodiac indicates a date in the fourth century BCE or later. The signs of 
the zodiac are, however, fully written out whereas Seleucid texts (e.g., BRM 4 19) generally 
use abbreviations. For more details, see above. 

38 This is published in Robert Biggs, "An Esoteric Babylonian Commentary," RA 62 (1968) 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

of malformed births), SA.GIG (the diagnostic/prognostic handbook) and 
alamdimmu (physiognomic omens), which were apparently learned in that 
order, were to be equated with the first two signs of the zodiac, Aries and 
Taurus. 39 The text also gives a partial explanation of how the series on 
malformed births and the physiognomic omens could be given astrological 
significance. 40 

For the physiognomic omens, we are fortunate in having four texts — LB AT 
1593, Qumran 4Q186, a passage from Hippolytus, "Against Heresies," and 
Cairo Genizah T.-S. K 21.95L — that allow us to understand that RA 62 52 
refers to the assignment of specific physiognomic features and specific life 
fortunes to persons on the basis of the astrological sign under which they 
had been born. 41 Since the earliest of the non-Mesopotamian texts is from 
Qumran and thus dated to between 150 BCE and 70 CE 42 and since at least 
one of the late Babylonian astrological medical texts, BM 56605, is probably 
to be dated to this same period (see above), it is conceivable that the system 
mentioned in 4Q 1 86 is the same as or is a development of the system referred 
to obliquely in RA 62 52 and partially expounded in LBAT 1593. 

Also possibly to be connected with these texts is the Mandaic Book of 
the Zodiac, which also makes predictions as to specific features of physical 
appearance and specific life fortunes on the basis of the sign under which a 
person was born. For example, "He who is born under the sign of Aries, this 
is what will become of him. He will be tall and handsome and wise and his 
mouth and lips will be large, his hair straight, his eyes big and his eyebrows 
fine. There are two whorls on his head, his nose is long, his voice is powerful 
and there is a mark on his face." 43 In short, he looks like a ram. The person 
born in Taurus looks (and slobbers) like a bull; 44 the person born in Libra 
conducts himself with strict rectitude "like a pair of balances," 45 and so forth. 
Compare LBAT 1593 r. 8-9, which describes the child born under the sign 
of Sagittarius as "shooting with a bow and riding on a horse." 46 

51-8; see also Barbara Bock, '"An Esoteric Babylonian Commentary' Revisited," JAOS 120 
(2000) 615-20. 

39 RA 62 52:1-2. Bock, JAOS 120 (2000) 616 suggests that what is actually meant is that these 
series correspond to the full zodiacal circle. 

40 RA 62 52:3-13. 

41 For a detailed explanation of the non-Mesopotamian texts, see Bock, JAOS 120 (2000) 

42 See, for example, G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 
1975) 12-3. 

43 Elisabeth S. Drawer, The Book of the Zodiac (Oriental Translation Fund 36; London: Royal 
Asiatic Society, 1949) 5. 

44 Drawer, Book of the Zodiac 1 . 

45 Drawer, Book of the Zodiac 22. 

46 M. Stol, Birth in Babylonia and the Bible: Its Mediterranean Setting (CM 14; Styx: 
Groningen, 2000) 97. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

The Book of the Zodiac is thought to be a Sassanian compilation belong- 
ing originally to a community of Jews or semi- Jews of somewhat heterodox 
character living in Babylonia. 47 Besides the Book of the Zodiac, properly 
speaking, which contains separate physiognomic predictions for men 48 and 
women 49 as found also in the ancient Mesopotamian physiognomic omens, 
there is a great variety of other material (some of it significantly later) includ- 
ing a hemerology, a bit of an iqqur Tpus type of text (i.e., omens relating to the 
positioning of the gate of a house), portents of wind rainbows, thunder and 
lightning and earthquakes, astral omens including shooting star and eclipse 
omens, and even a few medical texts. 50 

RA 62 52 continues with a short section offering proof of its assertions 
as follows. 

14 BAD-ma SER sd sa-a-tum ana IGI-fa* tu : ta : ti 

15 ii : a : ia: e sd-nis AN-e u Kl-tim 

16 KUR-w tam-tim u sa-a-ri ub-te-e 

If you want to find proof (for this), it is to be sought for in the collection of 
commentaries; tu : ta : ti (corresponds to) it : a : ia : e otherwise known as 
heaven and earth, mountain, sea, and wind. 51 

The fact that assertions are made and proof offered indicates that, despite 
the cramped style, the absence of long winded verbiage, and the failure to 
acknowledge divergences of opinion, RA 62 52 is not actually a commentary 
at all, but a treatise in its own right. In any case, the very idea of offering 
proof is a strong indication that what we have before us in RA 62 52 is 
an attempt to fit Mesopotamian tradition into a Hellenistic context. This 
impression is confirmed by the following section of RA 62 52, which finds 
Mesopotamian equivalents for the four elements as conceived by Hellenistic 

17 d GIS.BAR : d DIS : IZI : ul-la-nu : d 40 : mu-ii 

18 IM-tu HUR.SAG : d EN.LIL : sa-a-ri : su-ut KA sd sa-a-tu e-du-tu 

Girra = Anu = fire; from of old. Ea = water. Earth = the Nether World mountain. 
Enlil = air; citation from learned commentaries. 

47 Drawer, Book of the Zodiac 2-3. On the date of this text see F. Rochberg, "Babylonian 
Celestial Divination and Astrology in the Mandaean Book of the Zodiac," ARAM 11-12 

48 Drawer, Book of the Zodiac 5-37, 56-63. 

49 Drawer, Book of the Zodiac 37-55, 63-8. 

50 Drawer, Book of the Zodiac 68-197. For more on Mesopotamian antecedents for these 
sections of the text see F. Rochberg, ARAM 1 1-12 (1999-2000) 239^10, 242-7. 

51 RA 62 52:14-6; see Bock, JAOS 120 (2000) 615-6. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

Earth could only be equivalent to the Netherworld mountain 52 that left the 
paths of Anu, Enlil, and Ea for the remaining elements. Scholarly tradition 
("from of old") allowed for the equation of Anu with fire (predicated on 
a lexical equation of Anu with Girra of which we have no independent 
evidence); Ea was obviously water, and Enlil readily became air. 

And what of the proof? It consists of equating the sequence of vowels in 
the Mesopotamian tu/ta/ti syllabary with the sequence of vowels in "u : a : ia 
: e otherwise known as (sd-nis) heaven and earth, mountain, sea, and wind." 
The mysterious u : a : ia : e, probably to be transcribed as ioaiae, would appear 
to be identical to a magical name variously rendered in one of the Hellenistic 
magical papyri from Egypt as eioiae or eiaeioiae or even the rather baroque 
ioeeoaeieaiaiaieea. 53 (Magical names included not only what we might term 
the name of a divinity but also the names of other gods syncretized with that 
divinity, descriptions of the god, epithets, and even angels. The invocation of 
some or all of these "names" was believed to ensure the success of magical 

Other names given to the same divinity (Michael and Sabaoth in PGM 
II. 64-183 and also Gabriel, Raphael, and Adonai in other texts from 
Hellenistic Egypt, and the specific association of this divinity with the seven- 
day week) 54 reveal that this pattern of vowels was meant to render Yahweh 
who was indeed "heaven and earth, mountain, sea and wind" but also, perhaps 
incongruously, quite popular among Hellenistic magicians, particularly for 
love spells. 55 

In RA 62 52, the point is that the crossing of Hellenistic with traditional 
Mesopotamian sciences may be justified on the grounds that there is a natural 
consonance between the basic structure of Akkadian as a learned language 
and the god of Abraham and Isaac, creator of the universe for whom every 
seventh day is reserved as a day of rest 

The owner of RA 62 52, was a Nabu-sum-lisir, described as a priest of the 
"lord of the poplar," and the text is said to have been copied for him by an 
unnamed lamentation singer of the "lord of the poplar." This rather poorly 
attested god was considered by Mesopotamians to be an associate or by-form 
ofNergal. 56 

52 Biggs, RA 62 54, 56, Alasdair Livingstone, Mystical and Mythological Explanatory Works 
of Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) 74, and Bock, JAOS 
120 (2000) 616 interpret the IM as "wind" with the tu indicating a reading of TU15. This is 
very clever; however, IM is not only "wind," saru, but also tittu, "clay," which would have tii as 
a phonetic complement. In any case, the "mountain" that represents the east should be written 
KUR rather than HUR.SAG. 

53 Hans Dieter Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation (Chicago: University of Chicago, 
1985) 17-8 {PGM II 64-183 ca. 155-75). 

54 As in PGM XIII 1-1077, apud Betz, Papyri 172-95, the eighth book of Moses. 

55 As, for example, PGM VII 593-619, apud Betz, Papyri 135. 

56 p or references, see CAD S s.v. sarbu and sarbu and Egbert von Weiher, Der babylonische 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

The Babylonian Talmud indicates the presence in Parthian Babylonia of 
a lively dialogue (even symposia) between some more liberal rabbis and 
Mesopotamian scholars. 57 Perhaps this text is reflective of such a dialogue, 
unless our priest and lamentation singer were themselves Hellenized Jews of 
a decidedly heterodox character. 58 

And what, in a context of Hellenistic syncretism and astrology, would be 
the relevance of the two-line lament that the scribe of the tablet apparently 
appended to the end of the text as his contribution? 


23 E i-sa-tam i-ta-kal GIN7 tu-u-ru it-tas-pak 

The enemy has desecrated the representation of the abyss (the waters are called 
the representation of the abyss); fire has consumed the temple (and) it has been 
heaped up like a pile of ashes. 

ABZU PI.EL.LA.AM is a well known BALAG lamentation (performed to the 
accompaniment of a BALAG instrument), a good portion of which survives. 
It contains a lament for the desecrated ABZU and for the city of Eridu, which 
had been pillaged and its people slain or carried off into captivity 59 Also 
woven into the text at some point was a reference to the city of Babylon, 
described as the "city destined for sighing." 60 Since the copies that contain 
this phrase are late, it is possible that the reference is to the interval between 
the destruction of the city of Babylon by Sennacherib and its rebuilding by 
Esarhaddon (the temple of Marduk is supposed to have been founded on the 
ABZU, so this will have been "desecrated" when the city was destroyed). 

The relevance of ABZU PI.EL.LA.AM for astrology is perhaps the fact 
that this lament or its accompanying ersemma were recited for each of 
the three gods (Anu, Enlil, and Ea) whose paths describe the ecliptic. The 

Gott Nergal (AOAT 11; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag and Kevelaer: Butzon & 
Bercker, 1971) 63 with n. 6, 88. 

57 See Mark J. Geller, "The Last Wedge," ZA 87 (1997) 56-8. 

58 Like Yahweh, the god Nergal was, according to Sumerian hymns dedicated to him, associated 
with heaven and earth, mountain, sea, and wind. Is it possible that our priest and lamentation 
singer were attached to a syncretistic cult in which Yahweh was equated with a by-form of 
the Mesopotamian Netherworld god Nergal? Attempted syncretism between Yahweh and the 
Netherworld gods of neighboring peoples would not be entirely unexpected. Classical authors 
equate Yahweh with Dionysus (for references, see JoAnn Scurlock, "167 BCE: Hellenism or 
Reform?" Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods 3 1 
[2000] 125-61), and specifically the Egyptian Dionysus, who is the Netherworld god Osiris 
(note PGM IV 850-929, apud Betz, Papyri 55-6, where an oracle of Osiris is described as a 
"charm of Solomon"). If these priests thought of themselves as worshippers of Yahweh, was 
the "poplar" perhaps, then, reinterpreted by them as Ashera? 

59 MarkE. Cohen, The Canonical Lamentations of Ancient Mesopotamia (Potomac, Md.: CDL 
Press, 1988) 47-64. 

60 Cohen, Lamentations 49-50:2 1 . 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

lament is particularly associated with Anu, for whom it was recited on the 
first and twentieth of every month in Uruk, presumably to commemorate 
Enid's wresting away of the Anu-ship from Anu. 61 

In the context of consonances between Hellenistic sciences, Greco- Judaic 
mysticism, and ancient Mesopotamian tradition provided by the rest of the 
tablet (and judging from the fact that it is not a direct quote of ABZU 
PI. EL. LA. AM), it seems likely that the citation of the Sumerian lament was 
also meant as yet another correspondence. As it happens, ABZU PI. EL. LA. 
AM is the first BALAG lament in the Nineveh catalogue and hence could 
stand for Mesopotamian lamentation literature in general. It has long been 
noticed that there are striking parallels between Sumerian city laments and 
the Biblical book of Lamentations. It would seem that our lamentation 
priest came to the same conclusion, since the obvious suggestion as to 
the interpretation of the lament as cited is that it refers to the deliberate 
destruction by fire of the temple in Jerusalem (Jer 52: 13) and to the breaking 
up by "Chaldean" soldiers (Jer 52: 1 7, 20) of Solomon's bronze sea which sat 
on the backs of twelve oxen and whose waters, will have been then, according 
to our lamentation priest, "a representation of the abyss," i.e., the primordial 
waters which provided the raw material for creation. 

A Sense of Humor(s): The Interface between Humoral and 
Astrological Medicine 

The Summa izbu/SA.GlG/alamdimmii section and the "proof" sections of 
RA 62 52 are also found in another late treatise, LB AT 1601:1—5' and r. 6'- 
7'. 62 Between them are series of sections that seek to equate parts of the series 
SA.GIG (the diagnostic/prognostic handbook) with astrological phenomena. 
The first of these sections reads as follows. 

6' [3—4 signs missing] BAD-ma GIG GIG-ma 

7' [3—4 signs missing] ina MUL A-nu-ni-tim 

8' [3-4 signs missing] MUL.SIPA.ZI DU-ma 

9' [3^ signs missing] lu-ii ina UD.NA.A ES.BAR 1 KUD-ms 

10' [3^ signs missing l\u-u ina UD.NA.A lu-u 1 UDU.NiTA pu-hi-su GAL-si 

1 1' [3^ signs missing ES.B]AR sd d 30 ME.A GAR-an 

The text is fragmentary, but it seems to envision a patient who has become 
sick [in Simmutu and whose illness persists] into Anunltu (6'-7'), that is, 

61 TCL 6 48:1,15. For further discussion and references, see Stefan Maul, "Gottesdienst im 
Sonnenheiligtum zu Sippar," in Studies Renger 294-5. 

62 This text is edited in Biggs, RA 62 57-8. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

who was sick for most of the month of Addaru. 63 Assuming some form of 
movement (now lost in a lacuna) on the part of Orion (8'), the asipu may 
make a prognosis as to this patient's recovery (11')- This follows from the fact 
that, according to a judgment of Sin, god of divination (11'), either on the last 
day of the old month or [on the first day of the new month], a decision will 
be made in the patient's favor and there will be a ram to serve as the patient's 
substitute (9-10'). From a purely astrological point of view, the prediction 
takes its logic from the fact that the last day of Pisces (XII) is followed 
as a matter of course by the first day of Aries (I), the substitute "ram" of 
1. 1 0'. On a more subtle level, what is envisioned is that Istar (AnunTtu), as 
a result of the intercession of her vizier, Papsukkal (Orion), has approached 
her father (Sin) on behalf of the patient with the request that the "deciding 
of decisions" associated with the New Year's festival should bring about an 
end to the patient's outstanding case (the illness) and with the further request 
that the ram slaughtered and used to purify the temple as part of that festival 
shall stand as a substitute for him. What this daughter asks, her father cannot 
refuse; thus, it is safe to assume possible recovery and to institute treatment. 
The second section continues on the subject of medicine and the New 
Year's Festival with the following remark. 

12' [UD-ma MAS.MAS ana] r E LLT.GIG DV-ak GABA.RI "AB UD.7.KAM 

m bAraud.i.kam 64 

SA.GIG (quoted by incipit) corresponds to the seventh of Tebetu and the first 
of Nisannu. 

This line is conventionally interpreted as giving an auspicious date for 
undertaking diagnosis. 65 However, astrological medicine does not make 
diagnoses on propitious days; on the contrary, the day (and the position 
of constellations on that day) is what determines the diagnosis (since it 
actually causes the illness). Moreover, when a late text (such as BRM 4 19) 
wishes to indicate the date on which a particular rite is to be performed it 
uses the phrase "if you do it, it will go well." 66 Here, what is being described 
is a "correspondence" (GABA.RI) or what Hellenistic philosopher/scientists 
called a cosmic sympathy. The series SA.GIG generally "corresponded" to 
two dates, the seventh of Tebetu and the 1st of Nisannu, or the Babylonian 
New Year. We shall leave the New Year aside for the moment, but the 
assignment of SA.GIG to Tebetu (= Capricorn) is doubtless due to the fact 

63 See Foxvog, "Astral Dumuzi" 106 and Ronald Wallenfels, "Zodiacal Signs among the Seal 
Impressions from Hellenistic Uruk," in Studies Hallo 287. 

64 Biggs, RA 62:57-58 restores this line from the incipit of Tablet II. As the following lines 
make clear, however, the reference is not to an individual tablet but to the series as a whole. 

65 Biggs, RA 62 53 followed, inter alia, by Bock, JAOS 120 (2000) 617. 

66 BRM 4 19:9,19,21,23 and passim. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

that the goat-fish is the symbol of the god Ea, patron of the asipu's craft. (It 
has also been suggested that the reason that SA.GIG has forty tablets of often 
strikingly uneven length is that forty is the magic number of the god Ea.) 67 
The following two sections of LB AT 1601 provide further explanation 
for these correspondences. The first of these sections reads as follows. Note 
that, like a number of the late Persian and early Seleucid texts that we have 
been studying, it divides the signs of the zodiac into weeks of seven days. 

13' [...] APIN-is GABA.RI ><AB UD.7.KAM 

14' pAB UD.14.K]AM "AB UD.21.KAM "AB UD.28.KAM 

(The section in SA.GIG): [...] he will ask for [...] corresponds to the seventh 
of Tebetu, [the 14th of Tebetu], the 21st of Tebetu (and) the 28th of Tebetu. 

In short, this section of SA.GIG somehow corresponds to the four weeks 
of the month. Ionian Greeks developed theories of primordial elements as 
building blocks of nature, which had developed by the fifth century BCE into a 
complex system, one strand of which is known to us as Hippocratic medicine. 
By this system, four primordial elements (earth, air, fire, and water) were 
coordinated with four bodily humors (bile, phlegm, blood and black bile). 
The system was further predicated on the attribution of disease to "natural" 
causes, by which these Hellenistic philosophers/scientists meant spirits other 
than the now "super-natural" gods. These were "natural" causes, but they 
were still spirits, to be dealt with by exorcism (bleeding, purging, blistering, 
and starving them out of patients) or by "natural" magic (manipulation of 
cosmic sympathies — as for example putting sweet smelling substances to a 
woman's nose to persuade her prolapsed uterus to crawl back into its place), 
in short that magical medicine which in its 16th and 17th century (CE) forms 
inspired Frazer's definition of magic as a false science. 

This "natural" magic was, at least in theory, in binary opposition to the 
"demonic" magic practiced by ancient Mesopotamians. Moreover, ancient 
Mesopotamian medicine was empirical rather than philosophical (i.e., obser- 
vations took precedence over theory, the reverse of the situation in Hellenistic 
humoral medicine). How, then, to justify even the most rudimentary continu- 
ance of the ancient Mesopotamian system of medicine in astrological terms? 
The solution was a passage from the diagnostic/prognostic handbook that is 
readily recognizable, despite its fragmentary state, as the only set of lines that 
end with APIN-k, namely the section that describes food cravings. 68 We hap- 
pen to have this section complete, and can thus restore LBAT 1 60 1 as follows. 

" See HeeBel, Diagnostik 106 n. 40. 

68 HeeBel, Diagnostik 1 12 n. 77 suggests that 11. 13' and 17', refer to the missing tablets 24 

and 35 of the series SA.GIG. However, LBAT 1601 is not concerned with tablets of SA.GIG 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

1 3' [ina UD.BI bi-bil SA-sw] APIN-if GABA.RI M AB UD.7.KAM 
14' pAB UD.14.K]AM "AB UD.21.KAM "AB UD.28.KAM 

(The section in SA.GIG): "[On that day (when his forehead is such and such a 
color)], he will ask for [what he wants]" corresponds to the seventh of Tebetu, 
[the 14th of Tebetu], the 21st of Tebetu (and) the 28th of Tebetu. 

The author of LB AT 1601 apparently took advantage of the fact that the 
diagnostic handbook mentions colors to further subdivide the month of 
Tebetu into seven-day weeks on the basis of the four primary colors, as 
we also saw done in BM 76483. This task was not without difficulties, since 
there are six colors in the diagnostic handbook (white, red yellow, black, 
dark, and dark red). What is worse, these six colors are mentioned only as 
relevant to medicine, which means that there are only a few sections that 
actually have a sequence of colors. As if to add insult to injury, even these 
sections with color sequences tend not to use the four conventional colors, 
and when they do, the order in which they are listed is not the same as the 
order standard in omen literature. 

However, despite these difficulties, the author of our Seleucid text man- 
aged to find a match in a short section of the diagnostic series that predicts 
food cravings on the basis of the color of the patients forehead and actually 
has white as a possible color. What is more, this short set of lines provided a 
perfect opportunity for linking SA.GIG with Hellenistic humoral medicine 
and astrology 69 

Collating the designated section of the diagnostic handbook 70 with the 
cryptic note in the Seleucid text yields the following correspondences. White 
foreheads = sour (vinegar); i.e., bile and the first week of Tebetu. Yellow 
foreheads = sweet; (pomegranate), i.e., phlegm and the second week of 
Tebetu. Red foreheads = hot (red mustard); 71 i.e., blood and the third week 
of Tebetu. Black foreheads = sour and hot (wine and red mustard); i.e., black 
bile and the fourth week of Tebetu. 

but with the series as a whole or with individual lines within the series from which he can draw 
significance, as may readily be seen from the fact that he quotes the entire first line of Tablet 2 
and not the name of this tablet given in the SA.GIG catalogue. It is in any case unclear why, if 
he wished to give the auspicious dates for the performance of individual tablets of the series, 
he would have begun with Tablet 24, then Tablet 2, and then Tablet 35, or for that matter why 
the seventh of Tebetu should be listed before the first of Nisannu. 

69 By associating four colors with the four humors and the four weeks of the month, it would 
theoretically have been possible, armed with the approximate date of the commencement of 
the illness, to make an astrological diagnosis based on the appearance of the patient's urine. 
For the role of examination of urine in astrological medicine in England in the Early Modern 
Period, see K. Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 

70 Labat, TDP 44:47-56. 

71 See the discussion in Marten Stol, "Cress and its Mustard," JEOL 28 (1983-84) 31-2. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

If you arrange the resulting humors onto a cross in accordance with 
Ptolemy's "Chaldean" assignment of the winds, the first wind (north) is 
yellow bile and the top of the cross, the second (south) is phlegm, and the 
bottom of the cross, the third (west) is blood and the left arm of the cross, 
and the fourth (east) is black bile and the right arm of the cross. If you 
rotate this cross by 45 degrees clockwise and place hot, dry, cold and wet 
on the sides of the resulting square, you have the Hippocratic system in a 
nutshell. 72 

Blood = Fire = Red Hot Bile = Water = Yellow 

Wet Dry 

Phlegm = Air = White Cold Black Bile = Earth = Black 

Of course, the fit is by no means perfect (white foreheads should properly 
have been phlegm and yellow foreheads, bile), but then considering how 
difficult a task it was to find any connection between Hellenistic humoral 
philosophy and ancient Mesopotamian medicine, our ancient scholar has 
earned a right to a few loose ends. 

The following section in LB AT 1601, which explains the correspondence 
with the first of Nisannu, has equal success in finding an explanation for 
another irrational (or rather apparently irrational) element in SA.GIG, and 
that is the right versus left distinction. This is quoted from the incipit of the 
second tablet of SA.GIG, which contains omens taken while proceeding to 
the patient's house: 

15' [BAD-ma LU ana E LU.GIG] Zl-ma SUR ! .DU mu5cn ana \5-su D[lB-iq] 
16' [GIG BI DIN] 7 7 14 7NA7[xx] 

In the second tablet of SA.GIG, the line following that quoted in LBAT 
1601:15—16' predicts that if the falcon is on the left, the patient will die. 
The correspondence between this pattern of right = favorable and left = 
unfavorable and the first of Nisannu is simple enough. As the first day of the 
year, that day looks both forward (Right) to the future and backwards (Left) 
to the past. 

Whether our author had equal success with other sections of the di- 
agnostic series is open to doubt. 73 However, there is no question that this 

72 For an illustration, see Guido Majno, The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient 
World (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1975) 179. In Arab astrology, north is fire (blood), 
south is earth (black bile), west is air (phlegm), and east is water (yellow bile). Rotating the 
resultant cross counterclockwise yields exactly the same result. 

73 The cited line of SA.GIG is incomplete and unparalleled, but appears to refer to dizziness 
and something (possibly sweat) from the head to the feet as would be appropriate to a fever. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

apparent grounding of Greek humoral medicine and astrology in ancient 
Mesopotamian tradition pleased our ancient authors very much indeed. 74 


We are accustomed to thinking of Hellenism as a Greek enterprise in the 
nationalistic sense, with all relevant texts written exclusively in Greek, which 
was imposed on the Near East by Alexander and his successors as part of 
their "civilizing mission" and which was adopted by "Orientals" because 
of its obvious superiority. In Babylonia, it is generally further assumed that 
Akkadian was by this time not only no longer spoken but also no longer 
written and thus a language in which no new texts could have been composed. 
The texts discussed here disprove all of these contentions. In fact, old texts 
(such as the tablet of SA.GIG quoted on the obverse of BM 56605) were 
still being copied and added to, and new texts were still being composed 
in Akkadian as of 153 BCE or later. 75 What is more, the language of 
Hellenistic scholarship in the "Greek East" or at least the language of record 
for scholarly speculations was not exclusively Greek, and included both 
Aramaic and Akkadian. It is doubtless for this reason that literate Greeks 
(as for example, the Syrian theurgist Iamblichus who learned the Babylonian 
language from a captured slave in the reign of Septimius Severus) 76 were 
given access to Akkadian (and Sumerian into which Akkadian texts were 
still being actively translated in the Achaemenid period) 77 via the so-called 
Graeco-Babyloniaca (Akkadian texts written in Greek script). 78 Last but by 
no means least, Hellenism, if by this you mean a mingling of Greek and 
Near Eastern cultures, was already well under way in the Persian period, long 
before the conquest of Alexander. 

There was, then, an attempt made in Achaemenid, Hellenistic, and Arsacid 
Babylonia to square the old sciences of Mesopotamia with new sciences 
predicated on the notion that natural phenomena in general and disease in 
particular cannot be caused by gods in the old sense of the word. For the 
Mesopotamians, as evidenced in many of the texts we have been studying, 
this new "wisdom" was not a replacement for, but rather a new elucidation of 

74 "Keep the secret of heaven and earth!" (RA 62 52:4). 

75 See above. Contracts in Akkadian are attested until at least the reign of Mithradates II of 
Parthia; see Josef Kohler and Arthur Ungnad, Hundert ausgewahlte Rechtsurkunden aus der 
Spdtzeit des babylonischen Schrifttums von Xerxes bis Mithridates II. (483—93 v. Chr) (Leipzig: 
Eduard Pfeiffer, 1911) 1-2. 

76 See Edmond Sollberger, "Graeco-Babyloniaca," Iraq 24 (1962) 63-72; Mark Geller, "The 
Influence of Ancient Mesopotamia on Hellenistic Judaism," CANE 1 43-54. 

77 See HeeBel, Diagnostik 130. 

78 For details, see Geller, ZA 87 (1997) 64-86. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

old material — one that incorporated a new approach by which more meaning 
could be teased from the signs given to man by the gods. Unfortunately, some 
Hellenistic philosophers (and in particular those selected for survival by the 
Church Fathers) rejected all old data that would not fit their new theories. 
For example, Aristotle had no time for the notion that fire, air, and water 
corresponded to the paths of Anu, Enlil, and Ea (RA 62 52; see above). 
For him, the heavenly bodies were perfect spheres rotating round a static 
and imperfect earth in circular orbits. The four elements were exclusively 
terrestrial; stars and planets could only be made of ether. 79 

Hippocratic medicine similarly ignored much of the earlier corpus of 
knowledge. When it looked for correspondences in ancient Mesopotamian 
medicine, it was naturally attracted to what were or appeared to be irrational 
elements (right-left distinctions or strange forehead colors — LB AT 1601). 
Thus, when Hippocratic medicine was chosen for survival, what inevitably 
happened was that many of the rational elements of previous knowledge 
were lost. Hippocratic physicians rejected ancient Mesopotamian pregnancy 
tests, which used a color change system similar to that used today, in favor 
of the Egyptian "put a garlic clove in the vagina and see if her breath 
smells" test. 80 They also replaced ancient Mesopotamian herbal medicines 
with a regimen of bleeding, purging, and starvation diet inspired by the four 
humors. 81 

In the hands of these same Hippocratic physicians, ancient Mesopotamian 
physiognomic omens were transformed into tracts in which the physical 
appearance and the political systems of various peoples were attributed to 
factors of geography and climate as defined by the four humors (hot, cold, 
wet and dry). 82 Ironically, it is this Greek modification of an originally 
Oriental science that is the direct inspiration for that founder of Orientalism, 

In astrology, also, the influence of Western Hellenism, recorded in Greek 
or Demotic and centered in Egypt for purely geographic and linguistic 
reasons, inevitably eclipsed the influence of "Chaldean" Eastern Hellenism 
recorded in Aramaic or Akkadian and centered in Babylonia. The astrological 
medicine that Hellenistic philosopher/scientists in their turn transmitted to 
Western Europe and that survived in the West into the early modern period, 

79 p or references and discussion, see Rochberg-Halton, JNES 43 (1984) 1 16. 

80 See J. A. Scurlock, "Baby-snatching Demons, Restless Souls and the Dangers of Childbirth," 
Incognita 2 (1991) 162 n. 7, with previous literature. 

81 See the Hippocratic treatise "On Regimen in Acute Diseases"; for a comparatively recent 
translation, see John Chadwick and W. N. Mann, The Medical Works of Hippocrates (Oxford: 
Blackwell Scientific, 1950) 128-47. For discussion see J.A. Scurlock, "From Esagil-kln-apli 
to Hippocrates," Le Journal des Medecines Cuneiformes 3 (2004) 10-30. 

82 As, for example, the Hippocratic treatise "On Airs, Waters, Places." See also Barbara Bock, 
Die babylonisch-assyrische Morphoskopie (AfO Beih. 27; Vienna: Institut fur Orientalistik der 
Universitat Wien, 2000) 62-3. 


A Weakness for Hellenism 

then, is the child of Ionia and Persia, which grew up in Egypt, with only a 
few contributions from ancient Mesopotamia. 

While it lasted however, the interchange of cultural ideas across the 
Hellenized world and the concomitant emergence of three of the four great 
salvation religions generated a noticeable buzz of intellectual excitement in 
the ancient cities of the Near East. Seven-day weeks, calendars beginning 
with January, Hercules syncretized with Nergal; all was new, anything was 
possible, and everybody was free to combine and recombine varying elements 
of old and new, east and west. Far from decaying into oblivion, ancient 
Mesopotamian civilization metamorphosed and was born again in Parthian, 
Sassanian, and ultimately, Abbasid Iraq. 


JoAnn Scurlock and Farouk Al-Rawi 

Fig. 1. BM 76483 



T.M. Sharlach 

This contribution examines a single Ur III text from Umma and attempts to 
place it in its social and historical context. The text concerns individuals of 
two very different social strata: slaves belonging to the royal sector in the 
Umma province and witnesses who represent the highest echelons of the 
royal court. The document may also shed some light on the roles of women 
in the 21st century BC. 

The Text 

BM 106430, published in 1990 by Gomi and Sato as No. 333, > is a legal 
transaction concerning a family of workers made before three prominent 


1 Geme- d Sara 
1 Ses-kal-la dumu-ni 
1 Ur-g' § gigir 

dumu A-an-na-bi ba-ug7 
5 zah a-ra-2-kam 
1 Geme- d Lic)-si4 
zah-a libir 

dumu A-an-na-bi dumu Sag- / nin-e-zu-ka-me 
zah-a ba-al-la 
10 ki Ur-lugal ses sagina /- ka-ta 

igi Su- d Suen dumu / Geme-e-an-na-ka-se 

igi En-um- d Adad 

dumu Da-ba-an-da-ra- / ah-se 

igi d Nanna-sig5 

* I am happy to dedicate this to Erie as a small token of gratitude towards his generous spirit, 
which for many years has shaped the tablet room at the University of Pennsylvania. 

[Note: D. Snell's book, Flight and Freedom in the Ancient Near East (CHANE 8; Leiden: 
Brill, 2001) arrived after this article had been completed.] 

1 Gomi and Sato, Selected Neo-Sumerian Administrative Texts from the British Museum 
(Abiko: Research Institute of Chuo-Gakuin, 1990) [henceforward Gomi-Sato]. Abbreviations 
in this article follow Sigrist and Gomi, The Comprehensive Catalog of Published Ur III Tablets 
(Bethesda: CDL, 1991), and those provided by the CDLI project (http://cdli.ucla/Tools). 


T.M. Sharlach 


dumu Sa-da mar-tu / lu-kin-gi 4 -a-lugal-se 
nam-geme-arad e-gal- / se ba-gi-ne-es 

iti pa4-ii-e 
5 mu Ur-bi-i-lum / ki ba-hul 

- Geme-Sara 

- Ses-kalla, her son 

- Ur-gigir 

son of A'anabi, dead, 
fled for the second time 

- Geme-Lisi 

having fled, old (entry); 

they are the children of A'anabi, the children of Sag-ninezu, 

returned (from) having fled 

from Ur-lugal, the brother of the general. 

Before Su-Suen, son of Geme-eanna, 

before Enum-Adad, 

son of Tappan-darah, 

before Nanna-sig, 

son of Sada, the Amorite, a royal messenger, 

they were confirmed and awarded to the palace in the status of female slave 

and male slave. 

Date: AS 2 xi (Umma calendar) 

The Workers Who Fled 

According to this document, four workers with Sumerian names had fled. 
The workers, almost certainly slaves, are identified by both parents, that is, as 
the children of A'annabi (a man's name) and Sag-ninezu (a woman's name), 
so it is reasonable to assume that they are from a single family, which can 
provisionally be diagrammed as follows: 

Sag-ninezu (f.?)+A'anabi (m.?) 

. 1 . 

Geme-Sara (f.) Geme-Lisi (f.) Ur-gigir (m.) 

Ses-kalla (m.) 

All four workers had fled, but apparently at different times and with different 
outcomes. Geme-Lisi apparently fled first — the record of her flight was al- 
ready recorded on another tablet and in Gomi-Sato 333 is therefore described 


The Case of the Family that Fled 

as libir, "old, an old entry." Then the other three fled — Geme-Sara along with 
her son and brother. The brother, Ur-gigir, who is described as deceased, had 
fled for the second time. Whether the death of Ur-gigir was related to his 
flight and subsequent recapture remains unknown. 

At some point after their flight, the workers were apprehended and 
returned: zah-a ba-al-la, "returned (from) having fled." The verb ba-al 2 
generally means "to dig up, to dig out" or "to unload a boat," but in le- 
gal contexts it has an extended meaning, "to return (lost or stolen) prop- 
erty" 3 The workers fled from (the jurisdiction of) Ur-lugal, the brother 
of the general. Almost nothing is known about Ur-lugal or his unnamed 

The transaction at the heart of this tablet, made before the witnesses 
(who are discussed below), is that the recovered workers were confirmed 
and awarded to the palace in the status of male or female slaves (nam- 
geme-arad e-gal-se ba-gi-ne-es). The verb used here implies the restoration 
of a previously existing legal status, 4 hence the translation "to confirm and 
award." Thus, it seems clear that the family that had fled was originally of 
slave status, and, having been recovered, was returned to that status under the 
palace's authority. 

Parallel Texts 

Gomi-Sato 333 does not stand in isolation: a handful of other tablets from 
Umma also concern workers who had fled and were caught. 







S43 ix U 

Igi-Sara-se Aba-nam- 
tummu Nig-saggi 

zah ba-al-la-ta ki Dada 
kisib Ur-e'e 

YOS 4 190 

S45 or AS2 

Ur-asar nu-8 i5 kiri 6 

zah-ta ba-al-la ki Atu-ta 
kisib Dada'a dub-sar 




zah ba-al-la sag4 
kikken-na ki Lu-balasig 

2 In the edition of the tablet prepared by Gomi and Sato, ba-al-la was classified as a personal 
name. Although the name is attested in the Ur III onomasticon (Limet, Anthroponymie 1 384), 
the context and the many parallels make it all but certain that ba-al-la is a verb, not a personal 

3 PSD B 13 (meaning 5) and 14, and also Oppenheim, Eames 147, commentary to text W30; 
see also NSGU 3 94. 

4 When free persons are made into slaves, they are said to be "given" to someone in the status 
of slaves, using the verb sum; see, for example, NSGU 32 and 207. 



T.M. Sharlach 



OA 16 287 

AS3 xi U 


zah ba-al-la-me 

= Sigrist 


giri Ur-nigingar 

ZT 1764 

Habalukke dumu 
Ur-Suen Susa ki 

kisib Lugal-kalla 


AS4 iii U 


zah ba-al-la-ta 


Ur-sulpae i-dabs 

SAT 2/3 

AS 8 vi-vii U 

Abba-[x] dumu 

zah-ta ba-al-la ugula 


Lugal-[x] Akalla dumu 


SAT 2/3 

SS4 xi U 

Geme-Sara (ugula 

zah ba-al-la 


Sara-zame) Nin-kalla 

kisib Ur-Nungal 

(ugula Lu-bala-sig) 

sag4 en-nun 

geme kikken-na-me 

ASJ 7 124 


Ur-lugal (ugula 

zah-ta ba-al-la kisib 

No. 24 

Er-dingir) dumu 

Ur-Nungal pisan-dubba 

= Sigrist 


ZT 3844 

YOS 4 162 


Ur-asar dumu 

zah-a-ta ba-al-la kisib 



These examples show that both male and female workers fled and were 
recovered. Some were female millers (geme kikken-na). Others, identified as 
foreigners (e.g., Habalukke dumu Ur-Suen Susa ki ), may have been prisoners 
of war. In other examples, the slaves are identified by their parents' names, 
either the father (e.g., ur- d a-sar dumu ur-sukkal) or the mother (e.g., ur- 
lugal dumu geme- d li9-si4). All of the Umma tablets in the chart seem to 
deal with slaves who have fled from the provincial administration, and, 
unlike Gomi-Sato 333, none of the other exemplars is a witnessed legal 

If we consider what happened to the slaves after their flight, it seems that 
in some cases returned slaves were sent to jail, as Steinkeller already noted. 5 
There is no indication of such a punishment in Gomi-Sato 333. 

Dandamayev's analysis of Neo-Babylonian sources suggests that prob- 
lems posed by runaway slaves were solved at that time by imprisonment, 
shackles, and branding. "The most recalcitrant slaves who repeatedly tried 
to escape or who were suspected of planning to run away were kept under 

5 P. Steinkeller, "The Reforms of UruKAgina and an Early Sumerian Term for 'Prison,'" 
in Studies Civil 230 n. 15. Further references to slaves in jail appear in recent publications, 
including SAT 2/3 1507 (SS4 xi U), SAT 2/3 1095 (see chart above), MVN 15 124 (undated), 
MVN 18 286 (SS6) and MVN 21 51 (AS3). 


The Case of the Family that Fled 

supervision in special houses (bit MM), where a prison regime was main- 
tained." "Slaves who ran away or refused to work were placed in fetters 
or shackles." "Apparently almost all slaves bore a mark or brand with the 
owner's name, and those suspected of intending to run away were branded 
or marked an additional time." 6 No evidence known to me suggests that the 
punishments of shackling or branding were practiced in the third millen- 

The Witnesses 

Although the vast majority of tablets from Umma apparently derive from the 
provincial governor's archive, Gomi-Sato 333 concerns the royal sector. The 
workers in trouble were under the jurisdiction of the brother of an unnamed 
general, and the witnesses were members of the royal court. In fact, the 
status of the three witnesses was sufficiently high that one may wonder what 
connection they had to the runaways, who appear to have been ordinary 

Nanna-sigs dumu Sada MAR.TU, lii-kin-gi 4 -a lugal 

The last witness, whom we shall consider first, bears the Sumerian name 
Nanna-sigs but is identified as the son of an Amorite, Sada, 7 who held the 
office of royal messenger. Very little is known about Nanna-sig or his father 
Sada. Possibly, this Sada the messenger is the same as the Sada identified as 
maskim lugal, "royal requisitioner," in a legal document from Lagas, 8 or the 
Amorite named Sada described as a lu g'Hukul, "armed man," in MVN 7 78, 
an undated Lagas tablet. 

Men with the title lu-kin-gizi-a lugal appear elsewhere in connection 
with fleeing slaves; for example, in UTAMI 6 3723 (undated) rations are 
given to a Su-Adad lu-kin-gi 4 -a lugal, lu-zah dabs-de gi[n-n]a, "going to 
capture men who fled." Men with the title lu-kin-gi 4 -a lugal also appear 
as witnesses in cases in which slaves from Lagas attempt to contest their 
status. 9 

6 M. Dandamayev, Slavery in Babylonia from Nabopolassar to Alexander the Great (626— 
331 B.C.) (trans. M.V Powell; DeKalb, 111.: N. Illinois University Press, 1984) 236, 497, and 
231 respectively. 

7 Another instance of an Amorite whose son bore a Sumerian name is Kudda and his son 
Sipad-KA-gina (occurring for example in the Lagas text NSGU 34). 

8 NSGU 124 pp. 212-3, dated to SS3 v L 17. 

9 E.g., NSGU 67, 69. 


T.M. Sharlach 

Enum-Adad dumu Tappan-darah 

The second witness is Enum-Adad, the son of Tappan-darah, who was a ruler 
in Simurrum, a small kingdom in the northeastern frontier. 10 After Sulgi 
campaigned there, he apparently captured Tappan-darah and brought him 
back to the royal court. Tappan-darah 's son Enum-Adad is most frequently 
mentioned in Puzris-Dagan tablets, in which he appears as a requisitioner. 11 
This Enum-Adad was thus probably a fairly high-level member of the royal 

Su-Suen dumu Geme-eanna 

The first witness is Su-Suen, identified as the son of his mother, Geme- 
eanna. This Su-Suen was not the Su-Suen who would some six years later, 
be crowned as king, but rather the latter's cousin. The princess Geme-eanna, 
probably a daughter of Sulgi and an unknown mother, was married to a 
son of Arad-Nanna, the sukkal-mah, "Secretary of State." 12 Su-Suen son of 
Geme-eanna, then, had two eminent grandfathers — Sulgi on his mother's 
side and Arad-Nanna on his father's side, probably the two most powerful 
men in the Ur III state. Note that in our text this Su-Suen is described as the 
son of his mother. When a person is described as the son of his mother rather 
than the son of his father, there are two possible reasons: either the child 
was born to an unmarried woman 13 or the mother's side was more important 
in the circumstances. Where, as in this case, the person so identified is the 
grandson of a king, it is most likely the royal lineage on the mother's side that 
was the deciding factor behind the identification, since the mother's status 
was higher than that of the father. 

10 v W.W. Hallo, "Simurrum and the Hurrian Frontier," RHA 36 (1978) 71-83, and R. Biggs, 
"Sulgi in Simurrum," in Studies Astour 169-72. 

11 E.g., PDT 342 (IS2), in which Enum-Adad requisitions livestock as part of the bala of the 
provincial governor of Uru-sagrig, or MVN 13 128 (also IS2), a very similar text. 

12 P. Michalowski, "Charisma and Control: On Continuity and Change in Early Mesopotamian 
Bureaucratic Systems," in The Organization of Power: Aspects of Bureaucracy in the Ancient 
Near East (ed. R.D. Biggs and M. Gibson; SAOC 46; Chicago: The University of Chicago 
Press, 1987) 58, esp. n. 15. Geme-Eanna can be found in a list of princesses, CTMMA 1 17 

13 As noted already by I. J. Gelb in his article, "Household and Family in Early Mesopotamia," 
OLA 5 (1979) 28: "Since the descent is generally patrilinear, individuals bear patronymics, 
almost never matronymics ... In other sources, matronymics occur frequently with such classes 
of population as young children captured with their mothers as prisoners of war, bastard 
children, and certain classes of serfs, fatherless and without family." 

In certain cases when filiations for men are given on the distaff side it is specifically stated 
that the mother was a prostitute (i.e., that there was no father to be named); see, e.g., CT 10 
32-3 (BM 21355) a Lagas tablet listing mill workers, including as the first entry, 1 lu- d na-ru-a 
dumu geme-dlama geme-kar-kid, "Lu-Narua, son of Geme-Lama, prostitute." 


The Case of the Family that Fled 

Very little has been written on the life of this Su-Suen. It is not certain 
if he resided in the Umma province: in one of the Drehem texts in which he 
appears (SAT 2/3 1062), we also find the provincial governor of Umma and 
Su-Kabta, who ran a large royal estate in the Umma province at Garsana, 
but this may be coincidental. A Su-Suen with the title di-kud, "judge," is 
mentioned in several Drehem tablets from Amar-Suen's reign, 14 but this is 
not necessarily the same person as Su-Suen, the son of the princess Geme- 
eanna. Although the latter Su-Suen does appear in Gomi-Sato 333 in a legal 
context, he is not given the title di-kud but instead is identified solely through 
his royal connection. 


Gomi-Sato 333 fits within a category of texts from Umma about slaves who 
have attempted to flee but have been caught. It is unlike the other texts cited 
here because it concerns slaves that belong to the royal sector (rather than 
to the provincial government) and is the only text of this group that records 
a formal, witnessed legal transaction. Further investigation may elucidate 
why the scions of the highest members of the royal court of Ur appear as 
witnesses here. Gomi-Sato 333 also shows that while Mesopotamian society 
was manifestly patrilineal, at least in some circumstances, who your mother 
was mattered more than who your father was. 

14 For example, SAT 2/3 681 (AS 1 ii R 19), TAD 68 (AS 2 i R 22), MVN 1 127 (AS5 i ? R 
29), and SAT 2/3 1062 (AS7 xii R). 



Marcel Sigrist 

La tablette St. Etienne 26 1 (Fig. 1) est un document juridique a propos 
du droit de peche. Ce document, difficile a comprendre en raison de ses 
cassures, revele cependant soit un trafic illegal de poissons entre les deux 
villes de Lagas et d'Umma ou du moins une contestation sur la destination 
des poissons de tel ou tel bassin pour Umma ou Girsu. 

II n'est pas evident qu'il s'agisse de vol de poisson d'Umma vendu a 
Girsu. II y a probleme et interrogation a la suite d'une situation inedite: il n'y 
a plus de poisson pour les livraisons regulieres de Sara. Le systeme etabli 
ne fonctionne plus correctement; il faut en trouver la cause et proposer un 

La tablette en relevant les activites des uns et des autres explique le fait 
qu'il n'y ait plus eu de poisson pour le temple de Sara. 

Peut-etre y avait-il eu des arrangements divers concernant la destination 
des poissons de tel ou tel bassin et qu'il appartiendra au gouverneur de regler. 
Cette affaire met en lumiere l'imbrication de la vie sociale des differentes 
villes du sud de la Mesopotamie a l'epoque d'Ur III. 

Une des difficultes dans ce texte vient du fait qu'il semble y avoir deux 
Lugal-hegal: l'un fils de Ur-Sin et l'autre complice de Ur-emah. Je favorise 
une lecture ne comprenant qu'un seul Lugal-hegal qui est fils de Ur-Sin et le 
mieux au fait des activites de Ur-emah. 


Lu-kirizal est negligent dans la surveillance des bassins de peche. 

Ur-Sin apres sa peche en porte le fruit au magasin en ville. 

Lugal-hegal (fils de Ur-Sin) et Ur-emah pechent (pour les livraisons regulie- 
res de Sara), mais Uremah vend le produit de sa peche a des pecheurs de 
Girsu. Ur-emah continue sa peche dans d'autres bassins des champs de 
Umma. Le produit de sa peche fut donnee 1) aux pecheurs des livraisons 
regulieres de Ningirsu et 2) au collecteur des impots sur le poisson (livraison 

1 Pour les autres tablettes cuneiformes du Couvent Saint-Etienne (Jerusalem), voir M. Sigrist et 
A. R. Millard, "Catalogue des tablettes cuneiformes du Couvent Saint-Etienne," Revue Biblique 
92 (1985) 570-6. 


Marcel Sigrist 

de poissons et d'huile), selon le temoignage meme de Ur-emah. Ce collecteur 
d'impots est egalement de Girsu. 

D'autres livraisons vont a la maison de Lugalebansa pour le mois de Lisi, 
selon le temoignage d'Irmu. 

Lugal-hegal, fils de Ur-Sin, fait constater par le sukkal que des pecheurs de 
Girsu pechent dans des bassins d'Umma. 

La mention repetee de Girsu dans cette affaire de peche invite a penser 
que Girsu avait des droits mais qu'ils ont peut-etre ete abuses en surpechant 
dans certains bassins. 


1 Lu-kiri3-zal ga-[nun]/ ku6-da dabs-a na-ab-tag4 

2 U4 Ur- d EN.ZU-ke4 ku6 un-/dabs uru-se ba-DU-a-ta 

3 Lugal-he-gal u Ur-/E-mah-ke4 a-ra-3-/am ku6 ib-dabs-ne 

4 ku6-bi ni-Ur- d EN.ZU-ka-/gim ga-nun-se nu-mu-tum 

5 ku6-bi ki-bi-ta-am / ki-sa-ga-na-se ib-ha-/al-ha 

6 rdu g n sagan kes-ra-bi /[x (x)] r i"'-in-sam 

7 [x ku6] sag-kes He-me-/sa 

8 [x ku6] sag-kes Lu-/ d Asnan 

9 [su-ha] Gir-su ki -me 

10 [egir] Ur-E-mah 

11 [a-sa d Su]l-gi- r bi n u/Ur-[...] 

12 [a-sa] a-gestin 

13 [u a-sa] Ka-ma-ri ki -ka 

14 [...] 

1 [NPi? u] 

2 r Ur- dn [Asnan?] 

3 su-ha sa-dun- d Nin-gir-/su<< ki >>-me 

4 ku6 sa-dun-ga-ni /ib-ta-an-il 

5 U4 ku6-sa-dui i- d Sara / i-im-saio-saio 

6 4 gii ku6 Ur- d Nin-mug-/ga enkud Gir-su ki -ra / in-na-sum 

7 4 dug 30 <sila> i-ku 6 

8 2 dug 15 silai-ku6 

9 3 dug 10<sila>i-ku 6 

10 i Ka-ma-ri^ 

1 1 inim Ur-E-mah-ta 

12 egir 5 (LUM) Ur-E-mah-ta 

13 110 <sila> dug diri-ga la-ba-an-gar 

14 20 ku6 sag-kes ku6-sigs 

15 10 ku6 sag-kes us 


Droit depeche. Tablette St. Etienne 26 

16 [X dug] ga-se-durii5 

17 5silai-nun 

1 8 2 g«si-ig-da [(x)]/ [x]-x-URxX 


1 [x (x)] x iti- d /[Li9-s]i4-na 

2 e Lugal-e-ba-an/-sa6-se 

3 inim Irn-mu-ta 

4 A-a-gi-na im-da-/gub ba-iis 

5 pii-e-kar-ga-ka 

6 ku6 i-in-lug x -/ga-am 

7 Lugal-he-gal-ra 

8 Lugal-s i5 gigir-re ku6-sa-dui i/nu-gal pu-ba he-sa-/lug x in-na-an-dui \ 

9 Lugal-he-gal-e / nu-un-se 

10 gi6 pii-e sukkal bi-/in-su 

1 1 ku6-bi su-ha Gir-su ki /-ke4 in-na-ab-dabs-dabs 

12 U4-baku6-sa-dun- d Sara/nu-gal 

13 dabs-bi e-Lugal-e-ba-/an-sa6-se su bi-/in-tag4 


14 inim Lugal-[he-gal-ta] 

iv (cassure) 

1' [xxx] 15sila/[xx]se-DU 

2' [,..]se-DU 

3' [ku6 a-sa] a-gestin 

4' [kii6] a-sa la-tur 

5' [ku 6 a-sa] Ka-ma-ri/ ki 

6' [ku6] a-sa d Sara 

7' [ku6 a-sa] a-ba-gal 

8' ku6 uku-nu-ti 

9' ensi-ra en-bi / tar-ri-dam 


1 0' inim su-dug-a / Lugal-he-gal / dumu Ur- d EN.ZU 


1 Lu-kirizal a totalement neglige le (controle) du magasin de poissons peches. 

2 Ainsi le jour oil Ur-Sin eut amene a la ville le poisson qu'il avait pris, 

3 Lugal-hegal et Ur-emah prirent du poisson par trois fois. 

4 Ce poisson il (Ur-emah) ne le porta pas au magasin, en le presentant comme 
etant la propriete de Ur-Sin (comme l'avait fait Ur-Sin); 

5 ce poisson, du lieu de peche, dans la place de son choix, il le partagea. 


Marcel Sigrist 

6 II le vendit dans des jarres scellees. 

7 [x poissons] sagkes pour Hemesa, 

8 [x poissons] sagkes pour Lu-Asnan, 

9 [qui sont des pecheurs] de Girsu, 

10 [Plus tard] Ur-emah 

11 [...]-gi-[...]etUr-[...] 

12 [dans le champ] agestin 

13 [et le champ] de Kamari 

14 [continua de pecher] 

1 [NPi et] 

2 Ur-[...] 

3 sont des pecheurs pour les livraisons regulieres (de poisson) de Ningirsu. 

4 lis preleverent le poisson pour leur livraison reguliere (de poisson). 

5 Le jour ou il vendit le poisson qui (representait) les livraisons regulieres pour 

6 il donna a Ur-Ninmugga, le collecteur des impots sur le poisson de Girsu, 4 
talents de poisson, 

7 4 jarres contenant 30 <sila> d'huile de poisson chacune, 

8 2 jarres contenant 15 sila d'huile de poisson chacune, 

9 3 jarres contenant 10 <sila> d'huile de poisson chacune, 

10 huile de(s poissons des bassins des champs de) Kamari, 

1 1 selon la deposition de Ur-emah. 

12 Apres cette affaire de Ur-emah, 

13 il n'y avait pas meme une jarre additionnelle contenant (seulement) 10 <sila> 

14 20 poissons sagkes d'excellente qualite, 

15 10 poissons sagkes de qualite moyenne, 

16 [. . . jarres] de lait avec de l'orge, 

17 5 sila de beurre, 

18 2 pieces de bois d'amandier et de bois [. . .] 

1 [pour le festival] du mois de [Lis]i; 

2 (cela fut apporte) a la maison de Lugalebansa 

3 selon le temoignage de Irmu. 

4 Aagina, qui gardait (un bassin) (et qui) est mort, 

5 dans le bassin e-kar-ga 

6 elevait des poissons; 

7 mais Lugal-« i§ gigir dit a Lugal-hegal: 

8 "il n'y a plus de poisson satukku dans ce bassin; puisse-t-il y pulluler.' 

9 Lugal-hegal ne fut pas satisfait (ne le crut pas). 

10 La nuit un sukkal le remplaca au bassin. 

1 1 Le poisson (du bassin), ce sont des pecheurs de Girsu qui le prirent; 


Droit de piche. Tablette St. Etienne 26 

12 ce jour il n'y eut pas de poissons pour les livraisons regulieres pour Sara; 

13 ses prises a maison de Lugal-ebansa il envoya. 


14 Selon le temoignage de Lugal-[hegal] 

iv (cassure) 

1' [x jarres de] 15 sila [...] 

2' [...]... 

3' [les poissons dans le champ de] agestin, 

4' [les poissons dans] le champ de latur, 

5' [les poissons dans le champ de] Kamari, 

6' [les poissons dans] le champ de Sara, 

7' [les poissons dans le champ de] abagal, 

8' les poissons (dans le champ) de ukunuti, 

9' l'ensi devra etre interroge. 


10' Deposition de Lugal-hegal fils de Ur-Sin 


i 1: ga-[nun] ku6-da dabs-a na-ab-tag4; na-ab-tag4 est analyse comme na+ 
hamtu = affirmatif et tag4 = ezebum, signifiant "negliger;" ga-[nun] kii6-da 
dabs-a, bassin (magasin) contenant les poissons qui ont ete peches (attrapes). 

i 2: la lecture kalam-ma proposee par Waetzoldt 2 plutot que un-dabs est 
possible mais parait moins satisfaisante quant au sens: "le poisson du pays." 
Je prefere un-dabs en l'analysant comme = u+n+prospective, marquant le 
debut de la narration. 

i 3 : Lugal-hegal et Ur-emah pecherent de concert par trois fois du poisson 
destine aux livraisons regulieres pour Sara. Le pluriel du verbe est bien 

i 4 : le pluriel n'est plus employe. Ce pourrait etre une negligence de scribe, 
mais peut etre pour indiquer que seul Ur-emah n'a pas suivi la regie en ne 
livrant pas son poisson peche au magasin. On peut traduire: "en le presentant 
comme etant la propriete de Ur-Sin / comme l'avait fait Ur-STn." 

2 Je remercie Prof. Dr. Hartmut Waetzoldt pour ses judicieux conseils de lecture et d'interpre- 
tation de ce texte. 


Marcel Sigrist 

i 5 : ib-ha-al-ha = ib-hal-hal, "distribuer, diviser," zdzum. La reduplication 
pourrait marquer un iteratif, qu'il le fit a plusieurs reprises. 

ki-sa-ga-na-se, ki-sa n'est pas un terme technique; signifie simplement la 
place de son coeur, de son choix. La forme est au singulier; le pluriel aurait 
donne ki-sa-ga-ne-ne-se, "la place de leur choix." 

i 6 : du s§agan kes-ra, "des jarres fermees;" voir S. Yamamoto, "The lu-KUR6- 
dabs-ba People in the e-mi — e- d Ba-U in Pre-Sargonic Lagash," ASJ 3 (1981) 

i 7: ku6 sag-kes, "poissons lies par la tete;" voir R. Englund, Organisation 
und Verwaltung der Ur-III Fischerei (BBVO 10; Berlin: D. Reimer, 1990) 
194 no. 615. 

i 9 : il est plausible de penser que Ur-emah apres avoir vendu sa premiere 
prise continue sa peche dans d'autres bassins. 

ii 3 : les lignes 1 et 2 donnent probablement les noms de ces deux pecheurs 
des livraisons regulieres de Ningirsu. 

ii 4 : sa-dun-ga-ni est un singulier, mais pour rester dans la logique du 
recit il faut postuler que les deux pecheurs mentionnes au debut de la 
colonne emmenent chacun le poisson peche par Ur-emah, a savoir la quantite 
necessaire a la livraison reguliere. 

ii 13 : la-ba-an-gar = nu-ba-an-gar: "ne pouvait plus etre place, n'etait plus." 

iii 3 : marque la fin du cas precedent base sur la deposition de Irmu. 

iii 4 : une nouvelle affaire de braconnage ou peche illicite de poissons est 
presentee. Un gardien de bassin pretend qu'il n'y a plus de poissons pour les 
livraisons regulieres. Or de nuit le sukkal attrape des gens de Girsu en train 
de vider le bassin. Le produit du vol est apporte a la maison de Lugal-ebansa 
deja mentionne plus haut. 

iii 6 : lug x : voir P. Steinkeller, "The sumerian Verb lug x (LUL)," SEL 1 (1984) 

iii 8 : he-sa-/lug x = he-si-in-/lug x 

iii 9 : se = magarum, "etre d' accord." 


Droit de piche. Tablette St. Etienne 26 

iii 10 : su = riabum, "prendre la place de;" le sukkal assure la garde de nuit 
du bassin a 1' instigation de Lugal-hegal. 

iii 1 1 : la reduplication du verbe pourrait marquer le pluriel; il faudrait penser 
a plusieurs pecheurs de Girsu ou plus simplement a un iteratif: "a plusieurs 


Marcel Sigrist 

Fig. la. St. Etienne 26, obv. 


Droit depeche. Tablette St. Etienne 26 

Fig. lb. St. Etienne 26, rev. 



Ake W. Sjoberg 

For Erie, a friend and colleague in the 

University of Pennsylvania Museum 

Tablet Room for over thirty years. 

The following Emar-Meskene lexical texts are from Prof. D. Amaud's re- 
markable publications, which have supplied us this immense and rich ma- 
terial. The Emar lexical texts treated here are found in Recherches au Pays 
d'Astata, Emar 6/4 (Paris: Editions Recherches sur les Civilisations, 1987) 
161 ff. Some of these texts have been identified by Miguel Civil in "The Texts 
from Meskene-Emar," AuOr 7 (1989) 5-25. Some texts belonging to Lu = 
sa will be treated by Jon Taylor (forthcoming). 

The abbreviations used for texts are those of the PSD. Additional abbreviations include: 




Kienast, HSS 

Payne Smith 
Sokoloff, Palestinian 
Sokoloff, Babylonian 


Kohler, L., W. Baumgartner, and J. Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic 
Lexicon of the Old Testament. English translation. Leiden: Brill, 1 994- 

Black, Jeremy, Andrew R. George, and J. Nicholas Postgate. A Con- 
cise Dictionary of Akkadian. 2 nd corrected edition. Wiesbaden: Har- 
rassowitz, 2000. 
Dalman, G. Aramdisch-Neuhebrdisches Handworterbuch. Gottingen: 

E. Pfeiffer, 1938. 

Woodheard, D R., and Wayne Beene, eds. A Dictionary of Iraqi Arabic. 
Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1967. 
Dozy, R. P. A. Supplement aux dictionnaires arabes. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 

Jastrow, M. A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and 
Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature. New York: Pardes Publish- 
ing House, 1950. 

Kienast, B. Historische Semitische Sprachwissenschaft . Wiesbaden: 
Harrassowitz, 200 1 . 
Lane, E.W. Arabic-English Lexicon. 1863-1885; repr. New York: 

F. Ungar Publishing Co., 1956. 

Payne Smith, J. A Compendious Syriac Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon 
Press, 1903. 

Sokoloff, M. A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzan- 
tine Period. 2 nd edition. Ramat-Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 2002. 
Sokoloff, M. A Dictionary of the Jewish Babylonian Aramaic of the 
Talmudic and Geonic Periods. Ramat-Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 

Belot, J. B. Vocabulaire Arabe-Frangais . Beyrouth: Imprimerie catho- 
lique, 1888. 

Wehr, H. Arabisches Worterbuch fur die Schriftsprache der Gegen- 
wart, 5. Auflage. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1985. 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

Emar 6/4 no. 564 (p. 161 f. Msk 7490b; copy Emar 6/1 224). 

Column i 

1' as = a-sa-ak-ku II har-hu-ru 

asakku denotes a disease (cf. CAD A/2 326 s.v. asakku c-d), in our line 
connected with fever, as, besides in this lexical entry, never corresponds to 
asakku; as is here a disease the demon causes. I connect har-hu-ru with 
Hebrew harhur, "feverish heat," Baumgartner 352; harhiira, "fever," Dalman 
160; Jastrow 1 501; hirher "to have fever," Dalman 160; Arab, harhara, 
"s'echauffer," Dozy 1 268. 

2' as = mur-su 
3' as = di'-u 

as = [a]r-ra-tU4, si-bu-tU4, mur-su, Ugaritica 5 no. 1 37 ii 46'— 8': John Huehner- 
gard, Ugaritic Vocabulary in Syllabic Transcription (HSS 32; Atlanta: Schol- 
ars Press, 1987) 40, 192.4 (cf. p. 93 with ref. to J. Nougayrol, Ugaritica 
5 244 n. 3): in CAD M/2 224 s.v. mursu lex. section (a) end (Ugaritica 5 
no. 137 ii 46-8') is quoted as [dl-ri] AS (= [a]rratu, sibutu, mursu) but 
there are no pronunciation glosses in the text; there is no lexical reference 
to AS with a reading diii*. 1 Besides the lexical entry in Ugaritica 5, the 
Emar entry is the second occurrence of as as corresponding to mursu. Ac- 
cording to the copy in Emar 6/1 224 the restoration [a]-as (so in Emar 
6/4) is highly uncertain; probably no sign is to be restored before as. mursu 
and di'u (a grave disease characterized by a headache) in a group with 
asakku are found in Atrahasls S iv 12; 16; 28; Craig, ABRT 1 81:14: CAD 
A/2 326 where also CT 41 24 79-7-8,53:5 A.SAG between di'u and Ms 
[libbi]; cf. CH xliv 56 mursam kabtam asakkam lemnam. Cf. Izi Q 273- 
5 (MSL 13 221): nam-tar = nam-[ta-ru] (demon), nam-tar = mur-[su], 
nam-tar = di-W-[u] I 9: di'u. l'-3': cf. PSD A/2 44 s.v. a- as Lexical 
1.; 12. 

di 'u is otherwise Sum. sag-gig, as-ru, as-gar, as-biir-gar, as-bilr-ru (CAD D 
165 s.v. di'u lex. sect. (a) (notice as-). 2 

1 As to arratu in group with mursu cf. arratu marustu (: marustu): AHw 244 s.v. erretu(m) 

1 1); cf. also AHw 613 marsu 4c). Also, Heb. qilelani qelaldh nimreset (mrs nif.) 1 Kgs 2:8 
("he cursed me with a painful curse"); see L. Kopf, "Arabische Etymologien und Parallelen 
zum Bibelworterbuch," VT 8 (1958) 163 (reprinted in Kopf, Studies in Arabic and Hebrew 
Lexicography [135]). qelaldh nimreset would be Akk. arratu marustu. 

2 as = er-re-tum; as = arratu: CAD A/2 304 s.v. arratu lex. sect, as = si-e-bu-tU4 Emar S a Voc. 
660' and Ugaritica 5 137 ii 47 ([as]); now also the new trilingual from Ugarit RS 94.2939, 
as = ar-ra-tu = (Hurr.) si-tar-ni, as = si-bu-'tu* = (Hurr.) mu-uk-ni, Beatrice Andre-Salvini 
and Mirjo Salvini, "Un nouveau vocabulaire trilingue sumerien-akkadien-hourrite de Ras 
Shamra" in General Studies and Excavations at Nuzi 10/2 (ed. David I. Owen and Gemot 
Wilhelm; SCCNH 9; Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 1998) 16'-17', with the authors' additional 
comments in "Additions and Corrections to SCCNH 9 (1998) 3^40" in Nuzi at Seventy-Five 
(ed. David I. Owen and Gemot Wilhelm; SCCNH 10; Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 1999) 434-5 
and "La colonne I du vocabulaire Sa trilingue RS 94-2939," SMEA 41 (1999) 145-6; as = 
edirtu ("obscurement," "calamity") Emar S a Voc. 663' (also in Ugaritica 5 137 ii 46-8'); as = 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

4' r as ?n = ni-is-sa-tii4 II bu-su-ut-tu'- 

nissatu ("grief, worry, depression") together with mursu and di 'u see mursu 
tanehu di 'u diliptu nissatu la tub siri, "sickness, moaning, headache, sleep- 
lessness, depression, unwellness" Wiseman, Treaties 418 var. (CAD N/2 
275b s.v. nissatu A s. lb); di-'-a-su di-lip-ta-su ni-is-sa-su Surpu IV 84. The 
meaning of busuttu (pusuttu) is not known. Cf. buluh(: puluh) = ha-a-su 
("to worry"), as a§ -buluh = MIN SIGy.ALAN IV 244-5 (MSL 16 86;"quoted 
below in n. 23) 

5' [a-kus] = i-du nak-su 

6' [a- ] = i-du sap/b-su {Emar 6/4 ed. -su; also read -su in PSD B 15 s.v. a A 

Lexical 13.) 
7' [a-TAR] = i-du qa-at-pu 
8' [a-TAR] = i-du ha-ar-su 
9' [a-has] = [i-du h]a-as-su 

Entries cited in PSD A/2 15 s.v. a A Lexical 13. 

6'. Because of context, sapsu, "strong" can be ruled out. We may expect sabru 
(sebru), "broken," Sum. has; cf. [a-lJ a ]- a§ has = MIN si-ib-ru, [a]- ku - ud = MIN 
si-ib-ru Izi Q 44-5 (MSL 13 218), followed by [a]-ku s = MIN na-ak-su, 
r a n -ku 5 = SU(: aku). 

Column ii 


gii-[ ] = [qadadu] (Emar ed. 10') 


gii-gar-[ ] = [ ] 


gii-gar-[ ] = [ ] 


gu-[ ] = [ ] 


g«i-[ ] = [ ] 


gii-ga-[ga] = [qadadu ...] (15') 


gii<-ki>-se -ga-[ga] = [qadadu ...] 


gii<-ki>-se-ga-[ga] = [quddudu ( )] 


g«i-[ ] = [ ] 


g«i-[ ] = [ ] 

SIGy.ALAN XXI 93-7 (MSL 16 194; 91-2: gurum = qa-da-du, gii-gurum 
= MIN sd Ltj). 

6' = SIG7.ALAN XXI 94 (MSL 16 194) gii-ga-ga = MIN (var. qa-da-a-du 
sd LU). gii-ga-ga = kanasu; kunnusu CAD K 144 s.v. kanasu lex. sect. 

7'-8' = SIG7.ALAN XXI 96-7 (MSL 16 194) gii-ki-se-ga-ga, gii-ki-se- 
la = MIN sd Ltj (var. qa-da-a-du for MIN); gii-kl-se-ga-ga = qu-[ud-du- 
du-um] OBGT XI iii 11 (MSL 4 115). 9' perhaps gii-[<-ki>-se-la] (gii- 

a-ra-rii ("to curse"): see Ake W. Sjoberg, "Studies in the Emar S a Vocabulary," ZA 88 (IS 
274: Emar S a Voc. 660'- 3'. as and a-as = hisih[tu\ A = Idu II 254 (in conjunction with ar[ratu\, 
sibu[tu\); a-as = hi-sih-tu SIG7.ALAN IV-IVa 237 (MSL 16 85); PSD A/2 44 s.v. a-as Lexical 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

ki-se-la = sab-ZU, cf. n. 4). Cf. gii-ki-se-gar = MIN (= ka-na-su) sa LU 
SIG7.ALAN XXI 107 (MSL 16 194); = ke-pu-u sa LU SIG7.ALAN XXI 121 
(MSL 16 195). gii<-ki>-se 5e -gar = MIN (var. qa-da-a-du) sa LU (text A) 
ibid. XXI 95 (text B: [ ]-gar; MSL 16 194). 

Emar 6/4 no. 565 (p. 162 Msk 749 lae; copy Emar 6/1 229). 

V gii-sub-[x] 

2' gii-sub-[x] 

3' gii-sub- r x] 

4' gii-gid-[ ] 

5' [g]u-gid-[] 

6' [gu]-gid[] 

Parallel: Izi Bogh. A 107-12 (MSL 13 136): 

gii-sub-ba = a-hu na-du-ii, "to neglect" 

gii-sub-ba = ze-nu-u, "to be angry" 

gii-sub-ba = sa-pa-a-du = (Hitt.) ap-pa-tar 

gii-gid = ib/p-zu = (Hitt.) har-sa-la-an-za, "raging, quarreling" 3 

gii-gid = sab-su = (Hitt.) har-sa-al-la-an-za, Akk. sabsu, "angry": CAD 

S/l 15, Hitt. "raging, quarreling" 
gii-si-da-a-ri = sa-pa-a-su = (Hitt.) [ ] 

In line 109 the Hittite translation ap-pa-tar, "to seize" (: sabatu), may be an 
error for sabasu: CAD S 6 s.v. sabatu lex. sect, (a); line 1 12 sabasu (: sabasu, 
"to be angry"); Izi Bogh. A 150-2 (MSL 13 137): 

gii-ki-se-la = sab-ZU 4 
gii-sub = sab-su ("angry") 
[g]ii-sub-da-a-ri = sa-bd'-a-su 

In all three entries the Hittite equivalent is har-sa-al-la-an-za, "raging, 

Emar 6/4 no. 566 (p. 162 Msk 7498e; copy Emar 6/1 240). 

1' [a-ma]-r[u-k]am = a-nu-m[a] 

a-ma-ru-kam = ap-pu-ut-tU4 ("please, it's urgent"), a-nu-um-ma, la te- 
eg-gu-um, G. A. Reisner, "The Berlin Vocabulary VA.Th. 244" ZA 9 
(1894) 160 ii 7-9 (group voc). a-nu-um-ma, "void": Emar 6/3 p. 49 

3 ibzu is a hapax legomenon. According to CAD I/J 8, *ibzu is possibly a scribal error for 
sab(PA+lB)-zu (sabsu, "angry"). With hesitation I refer to the root hfz: Baumgartner 339 hfz, 
"make haste"; Arabic hafaza, "to hasten, hurry, incite (someone); to urge; to press," Lane 601; 
Dozy 1 303 f. epzu < hapzu, "over-hasty, impatient" (or the like). 

4 gii-ki-se-la = sab/p-ZU is obscure, gii-ki-se-la = MIN (= qadadu) sa LU: SIG7ALAN XXI 97 
(MSL 16 194). sapsu ("strong, resistant") is excluded, as is sabsu, "angry." a-mar-urus-kam = 
<na>-pu-ul-[tu] MSL 13 147:6; cf. apputtu = napultu, la tegi Malku 274—5. napultu= napultu, 
"answer" (CAD N/1 272). 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

no. 34:7; p. 197 no. 185:3'; 6'. 5 Cf. Huehnergard, Ugaritic Vocabulary 
68. ap-pa-tii4 (for apputtu) in Emar 6/3 p. 257 no. 260:20, but ap-pu- 
tu'- in 260:23. 

2' [g]ii-nigin = nap-h[a-ru] 

3' gii-nigin-kur-ra = nap-[har mati] 

2'-3', cf. Egbert von Weiher, "Ein Vokabularfragment aus Bogazkoy (KBo 
XVI 87)," ZA 62 (1972) 1 10:10-1 (Bogh.): 

[gii-si] : gus-u-si (pronunciation) = na-ap-ha-ru 

[gii-si-kur-r]a : gus-u-si-ku-u-ra = na-ap<-ha>-ar m[a-ti\. 

gii-nigin = napharu is, as far as I know, not attested otherwise, gii is 
napharu, as is nigin; gii-diri / gii-si-a corresponds to napharu. Cf. 
Izi Bogh. A 179-81 (MSL 13 139): 

gii-si = [nap-h]a-ru = [...] 

gii-si-si = [. . . n]ap-ha-ri = (traces) 

gii-si-kur-ra = [nap-har] KUR-ft' (: mati) = KUR-as kar-pi-es-sar ("lift- 
ing of the land"). 

4' gii-gurum = k[a-na-su] 
5' gii-gurum = [...] 
6' gii-GUR.GUR =[...] 

Parallel Izi Bogh. A 182-3 (MSL 13 139): 

gii-gurum = ka-na-a-su = ka-ni-ni-ia-u-wa-ar 
gii-GUR.GUR = ka-na-a-su = ka-ni-ni-ia-u-wa-ar 

Cf. also A 1 17 (MSL 13 136) gii-gar = ga-na-a-su = (Hitt.) ka-ni-ni-ia-wa- 
ar; A 119 gii-gar-gar = ga-na-a-su = (Hitt.) ka-ni-ni-ia-u-wa-ar. Reading 
gu-guru(m): see KBo 16 87:12—4- (von Weiher, ZA 62 [1972] 110): 

[gii-gurum] (pronunciation): gus-u-gus-ru = ka-na-a-su 
[gii-gurum] : gus-u-gus-ru = ka-ma-a-su 
[gii-GUR.GUR] : gu 5 -u-ga-ag-re = ki-ta-mu-su. 6 
gii-gurum/giir is also qadadu: CAD Q 44. 

Emar 6/4 no. 567 (p. 162f. Msk 7494b; copy Emar 6/1 232) + 74105b (copy 
Emar 6/1 265; see Civil, AuOr 7 [1989] 20 b). 

1 [an-dungu] = u-pu-{u\ 

upu(m), "cloud." an-dungu, Akk. (< Sum.) andugu is a synonym oiupu(m), 
"cloud" in Malku II 104: CAD A/2 114; cf. dungu = upu, AHw 1426 
upu(m) I and erpetu, "cloud," CAD E 302 s.v. erpetu lex. section; bil. section. 

5 a-nu-ma Emar 6/3 p. 12 no. 5:11; p. 23 no. 15:8; p. 77 no. 69:2; p. 96 no. 86:2; p. 105 no. 
93:9; p. 287 no. 296:12; also written e-nu-ma: Emar 6/3 no. 260:9; 263:13, 17. Akk. anumma, 
anummu. Cf. [gii]-si = MIN (: nagbu B s.v.) sa nap-ha-ri Antagal G 32 (MSL 17 222). 

6 Cf. von Weiher, ZA 62 (1972) 1 12 on line 14. gus-u-ga-ag-re may go back to gii-gar-gar. 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

With dungu, "cloud," and an-dungu compare muru9(IM.DUGUD) and an- 

muru9, Akk. akamu, see Ake W. Sjoberg, "Contributions to the Sumerian 
Lexicon," JCS 21 (1967) 278. 

2 an-ii[r] = il-di sa-me-e (: isdi same) 

Emar 6/4 ed.: an-di'm, but see Civil, AuOr 7 (1989) 20. 7 

3 an-pa{-iir} = i-la-a<-at> sa-me-e 

eldt same, Sum. an-pa: CAD E 79; Wayne Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic 
Geography (MC 8; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1998) 227; = a-pi sa-me<-e> 
Proto-Izi B 5 (MSL 13 36; Horowitz, Cosmic Geography 236). 

4 an-sa-ga = qe-re-eb sd-[me-e] 

5 an-TAR = pi-it-ru sa sd-[me-e] 

pitru denotes a waste space, an open area, see AHw 870 pitru(m), Sum. 
KI.KAL with reading hirim = pi-it-ru CT 1 1 50 a 1 (DM IV) [cf. also CAD 
H 197 s.v. hirinnu A]. OB: pi-it-ru ARM 4 27:37 (there read as pi-it-ru); 
Gilgames Epic I 20 pi-ti-ir bit A istar; 21 pit-ru uruk k[ = XI 319; 320. CAD 
A/1 380 s.v. alu ("city") 1.4' b) pitir bit d istar as "which is set aside as the 
estate of Istar;" see further M. San Nicolo and H. Petschow, Babylonische 
Rechtsurkunden aus dem 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (ABAW NF 51; Munich: 
Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1960) 10 no. 6:5, 10; 
1 1 for commentary; read there as pitru? Which part of the heaven is the 
"waste space," the "open area" remains obscure. 9 


7 Cf. utul same "the lap (lir = utlu): iterbu ana utul same, "(the gods) have entered the interior 
(lit. "lap") of heaven," George Dossin, "Prieresaux 'dieuxdelanuit' (A0 6769),"iL4 32 (1935) 
180:7 (OB lit). 

8 e-KI.KAL, a temple belonging to Lugalbanda and Ninsuna, occurs in a Sinkasid inscription: 
Douglas R. Frayne, Old Babylonian Period (2003-1595 BC) (RIME 4; Toronto: University of 
Toronto Press, 1990) 454, Sinkasid 8:11, there read c-kankal and so in most of the editions 
of the inscription (see references on 454 Bibliography), kankal = kankallu, a type of hard 
soil. A. R. George, House Most High: The Temples of Ancient Mesopotamia (MC 5; Winona 
Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1993) 1 10, 598 reads e-ki-kal "House, Precious Place." Claus Wilcke, Das 
Lugalbandaepos (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1969) 52 n. 173 reads e-KI.KAL (cf. also 
53 n. 178), without interpretation. We do not exclude a reading e-hirim, hirim corresponding 
to pitru. If so, the shrine was built in a pitru (open area / "corner"? cf . following note) of the 
city, like Istar's temple in Uruk in Gilgames Epic I 20 (= XI 319). 

9 Arabic fitr: Wehr 62 1 gives, besides "Spanne (Entfernung zwischen der Spitze des Daumens 
and Zeigefingers);" Lane 233 la: "the space between the extremity of the thumb and that of the 
fore finger," a translation "Ecke" ("corner"), which, etymologically, may be connected with 
Akkadian pitru. Also, Arab, fatara: fatarahu, "he measured it by the fitr" Lane 2330(b) X.fitr 
(end). Cf. DIA 344 f-t-r 2. "to measure (by the span of thumb to index finger);" fitir, plur./far, 
"a unit of measurement equal to the span of the extended thumb and index finger." 

10 We miss an-za = pat same, "heaven's edge, the edge of heaven" (see Horowitz, Cosmic 
Geography 235 f), following an-iir, an-pa, and an-sa-ga. It may not be excluded that an-TAR 
(= pitru sa same), "the edge/corner of heaven" stands for an-za. 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

6 an-TAR-TAR = al-lu-ta-nuP- 

As in the preceding entries, it may denote a part of the heaven(s). 11 

7 [a]n-dagal x (GAxLA)-la = sa-mu-u r[a-ap-su-tu] 
GAxLA for dagal(GAxAN).i2 

8 r arT-su-su = [...] 

For reading su-su see Civil, AuOr 7 (1 989) 20. 1 refer the reader to [an-su-su(- 
da)] = sa-mu-u ud-du-pu-tu, "wind-swept heavens/sky" Lu Excerpt II 162 
(MSL 12 108), followed by [an-sii-sii] = [MIN ur-r]u-pu-tu, "clouded sky" 13 
(for restoration cf. AMT 11 1 :30/3 1 im igi-lii-ka su-su = sd in ameli ud- 
du-pu "the (evil) wind that has blown into the man's eye": CAD E 28 s. v. edepu 
A v. 1. b). See also Igituh Appendix A i 1-2' [an-su-su-da] = {sa-mu-u ud- 
du-pu\-tu, [an-su-sii-x] = [sd\- r mu'-[u-ur-ru\- T pu-te* (VAT 10225+10227; 
MS Benno Landsberger). 

9 [an]-su-su = [...] 

As far as we know, there are no references for an-su-su as "remote heaven(s)" 
(samu ruqutu), see CAD R 421 s.v. ruqu bil. sect.: an-su(-d), an-su-ud-da, 
an-su-ud, Akk. samu ruqutu, samu ruqu; [an-su-u]d-da-gim, syll. version 
an-su-ut-ta-ki-im = [ki-ma AN-e ru-qu-ma] Emar 6/4 p. 359:7; OB lex.: 
Jon Taylor, "A new OB Proto-Lu-Proto-Izi Combination Tablet," OrNS 70 
(2001) iv 25, a[n]-su (Proto-Izi). [an]-su-su may be an error for [an]-su-su 
(= samu urruputu); lines 8-9 would then be parallels to Lu Excerpt II 162-3 
and Igituh Appendix A 1—2' (both texts cited above in comm. to line 8 above). 

11 Arnaud: al-lu-ta-nu '. If accurate, we refer, with hesitation, to JAram. 'allata, 'alluta, "post, 
door-post," Jastrow I 73; Dalman 21 'alleta. For gates and gate-parts of heaven see Wolfgang 
Heimpel, "The Sun at Night and the Doors of Heaven in Babylonian Texts," JCS 38 (1986) 
132 ff.; F. Rochberg-Halton, "Stellar Distances in Early Babylonian Astronomy: A New Per- 
spective on the Hilprecht Text (HS 229)," JNES 42 (1983) 214; CAD S/l 344; S/2 410; Erie 
Leichty, "Omens from Doorknobs," JCS 39 (1987) 190ff; Horowitz, Cosmic Geography 266 
n. 33; 267 with n. 34. al-lu- ta-t[i-x] may be a possibility. 

12 Also Emar 6/4 no. 137, 557:20; Emar 6/4 163, 567:18' gizzu-GAxLA; ERIM.MES GAxLA 
Emar 6/4 271:60', 62'; 272, 653:74'; Emar 6/4 282, 663:5'; [LUGAL ERIM-i]« GAxLA SUB 
("[le roi] sa vaste [armee] tombera") 6/4 262:35 (copy Emar 6/2 551); cf. E-ra AD-sii (rasur) 
GAxLA-i's Emar 6/4 229 Annexe I text E (copy Emar 6/2 427: Msk 74170):7' and bit ablsu 
GAxLA-[j's] (: irappis), "la maison de son pere s'agrand[ira]" Emar 6IA p. 249, 641:5'. In 
Ugarit: Ugaritica 5 no. 163 ii 11, cf. 286f. for Nougayrol's commentary on line 11; Claus 
Wilcke, "Die Emar- Version von 'Dattelpalme und Tamariske' — ein Rekonstruktionsversuch," 
ZA 79 (1989) 186. Also written GAxAN in Emar: SILA.GAxAN(.LA) Emar 6/4 134 no. 
126:6 (copy Emar 6/2 716); also Emar 6/3 144 no. 137:49 (copy Emar 6/1 87); 6/3 152 no. 
141:8 (copy Emar 6/1 72); 6/3 163 no. 148:6 (copy 6/1 77); SILA.GAxAN.LA Emar 6/3 
114, 109:4; J. G Westenholz, Cuneiform Inscriptions in the Collection of the Bible Lands 
Museum Jerusalem. The Emar Tablets (CM 13; Groningen: Styx, 2000) 17 no. 5:5; 20 no. 6:7; 
SILA.GAxAN Emar 6/3 134, 126:6 (copy Emar 6/2 716); 6/3 144, 137:49 (copy Emar 6/1 
87); Emar 6/3 153, 141:8 (copy Emar 6/1 72); Emar 6/3 163, 148:6 (copy Emar 6/1 77). 

13 [mii]s-bi an-sii-sii-ru(var. -sii-us-ru) = zi-mu-su AN-ii (var. \sd\-mu-u) dr-pu-ti (var. -tu), 
"his (the demon's) appearance is the clouded sky" CT 17 25:11; an al-su-sii-[ru] im nu-seg- 
[am], "the skies became cloudy, but it did not rain" Alster, SP Coll. 22 v 35-6. 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

10 an-bar-an-[ta] = [...] 

an-bar-an-ta: cf. van Dijk, Gotterlieder 82: TCL 15 25:29; commentary 
103 f.; cf. also TCS 3 86; 14 Horowitz, Cosmic Geography 242 (where this 
Emar entry is cited [n. 34] as an-bar-an-[ ]). an-ta = elu, "upper" (elu B: 
CAD E 111). With an-bar compare an-sa, an-za (van Dijk, Gotterlieder 
104), and e-bar-ra (PSD B 98 3.2.2); ka-bar(-ra) (PSD B 98 3.2.3), klsal- 
bar(-ra) (PSD 98 3.2.4), and uru-bar (PSD B 97 2.2.5). 

11 an-bad-[DU] = [...] 

Cf. su-DU-ag-an-bad-da, "light of the remote heaven," Ake W. Sjoberg, 
"Hymns to Meslamtaea, Lugalgirra and Nanna-Suen in Honour of King 
IbbTsuen (Ibbisin) of Ur," OrSuec 19-20 (1970-71) 146 no. 3:3; cf. utah-he- 
bad-ta, "from the remote heaven," Sjoberg, OrSuec 19-20 (1970-71) 146 
no. 3:7; lugal-an-bad-DU Angim 66. 15 

12 r anM ] = [...] 
16' gizzu = [sillu] 

17' gizzu-duio-ga = [MIN tabu] 
18' gizzu-dagal = [MIN rapsu] 

dagal x (GAxLA); for GAxLA see above line 7 with note. Parallels: Proto-Izi 
283^1a (MSL 13 26) and Emesal Voc. Ill 124-6 (MSL 4 38 f). 








14 kur-suh ! -suh ! -a-ta ! e-[a-ni] an-bar-ra-a d utu-gin7 [bi-in-gub] d dili-im-babbar kur-suh- 
suh-a-t[a e-a-ni] an-[bar]-ra-a d utu-giii7 [bi-in-gub], "when he comes out of the dark(?) 
mountain he stands like Utu in/at . . . when Dilimbabbar comes out of the dark(?) mountain, he 
stands like Utu in/at ..." Samuel Noah Kramer, Hatice Kizilyay (Bozkurt), and Muazzez Cig, 
"Selected Sumerian Literary Texts," ONS 22 (1953) PL XLVII Ni. 4049 i 5-8; dupl. UET 6/1 
68:6-8 writes an-NE-ra= an-bar7-ra, "noon, midday" (Akk. muslalu); in spite of an-bar7 in 
the text from Ur, an-bar in the Nippur text may be the same as an-bar in the Emar entry, van 
Dijk, Gotterlieder 82 TCL 15 25:29, and in Gudea Cyl. A xxv 3. 

15 As far as I know, there are no Akkadian translations of an-bad (an-bad-DU/da) in bilingual 
or lexical texts (bad = nesu, petu, ruqu). Cf. (goddess) nur same ne-su-u-t[i\, "the light of 
the distant heavens," Theophile James Meek, "A Votive Inscription of Ashurbanipal (Bu. 89- 
4-26, 209)," JAOS 38 (1918) 168:5; (Sin) zALAG same nesuti, "light of the distant heavens" 
Streck, Asb. 288:5. samu pe-tu-tum is found in Silbenvokabular A 91 (Edmund Sollberger, "A 
Three-Column Silbenvokabular A" in Studies Landsberger 24): an-ba-ni : sa-mu-u pe-tu-tum. 
Aa 111/5:29-30, cited in CAD S/2 340(a) as r ku-u n KUD =pe-tu-u sd A.MES, = MIN sd-me-e, 
but read sd me-e ("water"): MSL 14 344, followed by MIN sd bu-tuq-tU4 and ba-ta-qu sd 
A.MES. samu riiqutu (same riiquti: CAD R 421 s.v. ruqu bil. sect. ISET 2 pi. 9 iii 46 f. (Inanna 
and Sukalletuda) is read by Horowitz, Cosmic Geography 249 as an-sikil ? -bad : -ra ra igi mu- 
ni-dug an-bad-ra ra giskim mu-ni-zu; however, it is to be read differently, see the comments on 
lines 151-2 in the edition by Konrad Volk, Inanna und Sukaletuda. Zur historisch-politischen 
Deutung eines sumerischen Literaturwerkes (SANTAG 3; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 
1995) 178-9. 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

Cf. Proto-Ea 112-4 (MSL 14 36) u 4 : U, su-ii : U, bu-ru : U; Ea II 146 ff. 
(MSL 14 253 f.): 146 u : U = u-ba-an, 147 li : U = e-se-ret, followed (148) by 
a : U = KI.MIN. u : U = ubanu(m): AHw 1398. Cf. Aa 11/4:36 ff. (MSL 13 

281 f). 

22' KU.[KU(.KU)] (: Emar 6/1, 265, 74105b:22') 
23' KU.[KU(.KU)] 

24' KU.[KU(.KU)] 

Cf. Proto-Lu MSL 12 54:578-80: KU.KU.KU, KU.KU.KU, KU.KU.KU, 

var. KU.KU (in the three lines), followed by alan-zu and 114-da-tus (both 
= Akk. aluzinnu, "clown"); see also Civil, AuOr 7 (1989) 23, 4); also 
Proto-Lu Isin xi 5-7 (edition Jon Taylor, forthcoming). KU.KU.KU : e- 
eh, chchhe = pessu, pe-es-sa-a-tit, [...] = pe-e[s-s]u-u -tu Diri I 99 ff, see 
Ake W. Sjoberg, '"He is a Good Seed of a Dog' and 'Engardu, the Fool,'" 
JCS 24 (1971-72) 114 on CBS 14072 (and dupl.) i 12 (p. 108): KU.KU 
KU.KU.KU e-sir-dagal-la lii na[m-...], where KU.KU KU.KU.KU are 

Emar 6/4 no. 568 (p. 163 ff. Msk 74164a = A; copy Emar 6/2 416-7; + Msk 
74259 = B; copy Emar 6/2 580). 

11' ki-is I GIS = i-su 

12' gis = ha-at-t[u](for gis-gidru) 

GIS I ki-is, cf. Emar S a Voc. 205; 206 GIS | ke-es = hatt[u], Sjoberg, ZA 
88 (1998) 256; GIS | ne-es = sa-mu<-u>; see also Sjoberg, ZA 88 (1998) 
257 (on line 247) n. 38 with reference to Miguel Civil, "Bilingualism in 
Logographically Written Languages: Sumerian in Ebla," in II bilinguismo a 
Ebla (ed. Luigi Cagni; Istituto Universitario Orientale Dipartimento di Studi 
Asiatici, Series Minor 12; Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1984) 
81 f.: ne-es-pe-sa. 16 

13' gis = te-e[r-tit4]. 

A = Idu: VAT 9712 I 7 gis = tertu. 

16 OB: ne-es-pe-sa: GIS-pes = ti-tum Proto-Diri Sippar iii 21'; ni-is-nu: GIS-nun = nu-ii-rum 
Proto-Diri Sippar iv 3'. See further ne-es-bu-na (gisbun) VAS 2 44 rev. 2ff. ni-is-gi (: gis-gi), 
Antoine Cavigneaux and Farouk Al-Rawi, "Liturgies exorcistiques agraires (Textes de Tell 
Haddad IX)" ZA 92 (2002) 26:17; ni-is (=gis) 26:18 (Tell Haddad); mi-is-te-e-ra (= gi-tir-a) 
30: 13 (Tell Haddad); written gis 28 iii 1 (Tell Haddad). ge-es-bu-ur (: gis-bur) Uruanna III 220. 
Post-OB: gisgal 1 = na-as-gal-lu (: gisgal / nesgal). e-kur-gis-[...] : e-gur-na-as-ki = bi-i\t mu- 
li-li] Kagal Bogh I D 13 (Boghazkoy, MSL 13 151). na-ar-ra(: ga-ar-ra) = ia-a-si MDP 57 
no. 1 iii 4/6 (Susa). [gis la-ba-an-tu]ku-a, syll.version ki-is la-ba-an-tu-ka-a, Akk. transl. ul 
\it-ta-d\s-mi Emar dlA p. 359 no. 767:4'. gis-hur, syll. var. ki-is-hu-ur Emar 6/4 p. 361:24; 
cf. also p. 360:13 (Emar). na // ki-is-na, pronunciation gloss for_gis-na = sa'-la-lu-u KUB 3 
94 ii 12, in CAD S 67 s.v. salalu v. lex. sect.3 (Boghazkoy). GIS-SAR-'mah" 1 ki = MIN ni- 
sar-ma-hu, W. H. van Soldt, "The Ugarit Version of Harra-hubullu 20-2 1 a. A New Source," in 
Studies Bergerhof 439:46 (Ugarit). Cf. ka-ar | gar = sa-ka-nu Emar S a Voc. 506', Sjoberg, ZA 
88 (1998) 268; ga-ga | ga-ga = saka[nu] Emar 6/4 161, 563:6'-7' (Emar). 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

A rev. i 

1 IGI.DU[B] = [ittu] (Emar 6/4 ed. 19') 

2 IGI.DUB = [qiptu] (20') 

3 IGI.DU[B] = [tukultu] 

Restoration according to Izi XV ii 21'-3' (MSL 13 169): IGI i -k- kMm DUB = 


4 IGI.DUB = qip-t[u 4 ] 

IGI.DUB = tu-ku[l-tu 4 ] and Diri II 100-2 and Proto-Diri 107-8a quoted 
in CAD Q 260 s.v. qiptu lex. section; cf. Emar 6/4 p. 166 no. 569:33-6': 
giskim (IGI.DUB); MIN-[ti]; MIN-[sa 6 -ga]; MIN-nu-[til-la] = Proto-Lu 
495-8 (MSL 12 50; text G" has an extra line 497a [gi]skim- r hur-a between 
497 and 498). 

5 sen = [...] (Emar 6/4 ed. 23') 

6 sen-kal = [...] (24') 

7 [s]en-dim-ma = [...] (25') 

sen = sennu (senu, sannu, sunnu): CAD S/2 289 (a copper vessel; sannum 
is the old form); Ebla: sen = sa-nu[m] Ebla Voc. 1267 (MEE 4 332); 
cf. Ebla Syllabary 147 (B) s[en]: s[a]-n[u-um]. For the reading of this 
sign see Piotr Steinkeller, "Studies in Third Millennium Paleography, 2. 
Signs SEN and ALAL," OA 20 (1981) 243 f; Alfonso Archi, "The 'Sign- 
list' from Ebla," in Eblaitica 1 (ed. C.H. Gordon, G.A. Rendsburg, and 
N.H. Winter; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1987) 99, 147; and G. Conti, 
"Carri ed equipaggi nei testi di Ebla," in Miscellanea Eblaitica 4 (ed. Pelio 
Fronzaroli; QuSem 19; Florence: Dipartimento di Linguistica, Universita di 
Firenze, 1997) 67. sen also = ruqqu (CAD R 416). 17 sen-kal is sengallu: 
CAD S/2, 288. 18 

A rev. i 

8 [ki]-a-ga = r x]-[. . .] (Emar 6/4 ed. 26') 

a-ga seems to stand for a-ag-ga; cf. lii-a-ga-bl "its director," A. Westen- 
holz, OSP 2 55 no. 40 ii 5 (see his comm.); Lafont, Tello no. 196:23 a-ga 
for a-ag-ga, cf. Lafont p. 65 on line 23. kl-a-ag-ga = me-el-ti-t[u] Izi C iii 
4 (MSL 13 177; CAD M/2 13, mng. uncert.; AHw 649 "mestitu, meltltu, 
"etwa 'Zuweisung,'" that is "assignment"), a-ag-ga = tertu cf. line 13 be- 
low; ki-a-ag-ga: PSD A/2 37 s.v. a-aga 3, "place where orders/decrees are 

17 sen-zabar Emar 6/3 p. 258 no. 261:28, 30; Emar 6/3 p. 278, no. 283:2, 3; 6/3 p. 282 no. 
286:6; no. 285:1; no. 290:2; sen-tur-zabar no. 283:4; sen-ku-sig ]7 6/3 282, no. 286:6. 

18 OB LU.URUDU.SEN (some refs. CAD R 419f.): "the Akkadian equivalent ... is not 
known" (CAD); however, cf. Ake W. Sjoberg, "UET VII, 73: An Exercise Tablet Enumerating 
Professions," in Studies Limet 119 iii 14 su-ut su-im'-ni "the ones (in charge) of the sunnu- 
vessels." LU.URUDU.SEN would be Akk. sa sunni (plur. sut Sunni). 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

9 [ki]-ga-an = r x]-[...](27') 

According to copy there is no space for [ki-a]-ga-, probably [ki]<-a>-ga-. 
-an may be for -an-na, cf. a-ag-ga-an-na-ke4 "the decree of An" Ninmesarra 
19 (but probably no connection). 

10 ki-es-bar = di'-[...] (Emar 6/4 ed. 28'; es-bar = purussu) 

11 ki-es-se-NI = [...] (29') 

12 ki-za-za = [...] (30') (ki-za-za = sukenu: CAD S/3 214). 

13 ki-a-aga-sub = [...] (Emar 61 A ed. 31') 

Cf. line 8 above, a-aga sub perhaps terta nadu} 9 
A rev. ii 

1 ki-bi-ri-a = ri'-ib-ba-tii4 (Emar 6/4 ed. 370 

2 ki-bi-ri-a = mi-it-ta-tu 4 (38') 

3 ki-bi-ri-a = im-tu-u (39') 

4 ki-bi-ri-a = ma-tu-u (40') 

ribbatu 1. "arrears," 2. "remainder, remnant": CAD R 315, where ref. to 
Proto-Aa (MSL 14 92) 79:1-2: lu-u 4 | LALxGAG = ri-ib-ba-tum, mu-ut- 
tii-u 4 ; also Ea I 249-50 (MSL 14 189): la-al-la | LAL = tam-ta-a-tu; cf. 
AHw 1317 tamtitu, "diminution, scarcity." la-'-ii | LAL = rib-ba-a-tii. In 
both lexical texts (1.) ribbatu occurs together with muttu and tamtatu; (2.) 
mittatu is not in the dictionaries; (3.) imtu, "losses, shortages" (cf. line 5 
below); (4.) matu, verb or adjective (cf. line 6 below). 

5 si-il-la = im-tu-u \ imtu (Emar 61 A ed. 41') 

6 si-il-la = ma-tu-u \ matu (42') 

lal (la) = matu. si-il is obscure; cf. [si-la] | [TAR] = mu-ut-tu-u Aa 111/5:174 
(MSL 14 348). si-il-la = imtu, matu is otherwise not attested, imtu is Sum. 
nig/em-ki-tab-ba and nig-ki-la-bi. Cf. line 3 above ki-bi-ri-a = imtu; la/lal 
in nig-ki-la-bi corresponds to Akk. matu. 

19 A translation "place where instruction(s)/order(s) is/are neglected" is excluded, a-aga sub: 
terta nadu in the sense of a-aga ga-ga, cf. Gudea Cyl. A x 24 e-babbar ki a-aga ga-ga 
"Ebabbar, the place where instructions/orders are given out." This passage is read differently 
by Dietz Otto Edzard, Gudea and His Dynasty (RIME 3/1; Toronto: University of Toronto 
Press, 1997) 75; PSD A/2 37, 3. ki-a-ag-ga-ga, the second -ga as 1st pers. suffix "in my," 
but see ki-a-aga-ba Gudea Cyl. A xxvi 9. ga-ga = nadu in [gu-g]a-ga = ri-ig-mu-um na-du-u 
Kagal D 7:10 (MSL 13 246; cf. CAD N/1 94 s.v. nadu with rigmu); cf. also Aa IV/4:61 [ma-a 
| GA] = na-du-u (MSL 14 385); Reisner, ZA 9 (1894) 164 iv 18; [...] ga-ga-ga-e = [ ]-bi it-ta- 
nam-di Falkenstein, LKU 15 rev. 5/6; cf. also gu-nun su-su-de SRT 6 iii 4 (and dupl. 7: 15) (= 
rigma nadu). With terta nadu cf. amatam nadum, "to present a matter": CAD N/1 92 s.v. with 
amdtu (two refs., OA period). However, note also amata nadu, "disregard an order" ARM 2 
113:11'; Erra I 122 (CAD N/1 78); further awatiya u tertl i-di-a-am-m[a], "he disregarded my 
words and my command" Walters, Water for Larsa 71-2 no. 51:5-7; cf. AHw 706 nadu 13a; 
CAD N/1 78; a- r aga-ne ? ' 1 la-ba-si- r sub p -be-en, "I(?) did not neglect their commands" CT 42 
no. 6 iii 22^4; also a-ag-ga-sul-gi-lugal-ga-ke4 gii-mu nu-mu-da-sub, "I have not neglected 
the instruction of my lord Sulgi" ISET 1 p. 122 Ni 2191:10 (and dupls.). 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

7 i-di-im | BAD = na-ag-bu [Emar 6/4 ed. 48'; cf. Emar S a Voc. 689', see 
Sjoberg, ZA 88 (1998) 276; Ugarit RS 94.2939 idim = na-ag-bu = (Hurr.) 
tar-ma-ni, Andre-Salvini and Salvini, "Un nouveau vocabulaire trilingue" 

8 idim = kab-tu 4 ("heavy; honored; important") 

Cf. also Emar S a Voc. 679', see Sjoberg, ZA 88 (1998) 275. 

9 IDIM = qa-al-lu {Emar 6/4 ed. 50') 

Akk. qallu adjective, "light; of little value, of low standing." IDIM = qallu is 
otherwise not attested. Cf. idim = saklu, "simple, simpleton" (CAD S 80) 

10 IDIM = &i-»im-m (510 

Cf. Sjoberg, ZA 88 (1998) 275: Emar S a Voc. 683' IDIM = samu (with further 
refs.). 20 

11 IDIM = er-se-tu 4 (52') 

12 IDIM = ek-le-tu 4 (53') 

13 IDIM = e-tu-tu 4 (54') 

Lines 12-13 = Emar S a Voc. 68L-2': Sjoberg, ZA 88 (1998) 275 where ref. 
to GAxBAD with reading etutum = etutu, "darkness" Ea IV 235 (MSL 14 
364). 21 idim = er-se-tum MSL 14 125:714 (OB lex.), idim = ek-le'-tum 

MSL 14 125:721 (OB lex). 

14 idim = u-la-lu (55') 

idim (glossed by i-dim, i-di-im) = ulalu ("weak, helpless") is also attested in 
Aa II/3 E 16' (MSL 14 278); S b Voc. 61b (MSL 3 135); F. Thureau-Dangin, 
"Un vocabulaire de Kouyoundjik," 7L4 16 (1919) 167 iii 51 / CT 18 30 iii 37'. 
idim = ulalu seemns to be an error for dim(-ma) = ulalu: see Innin-sagurra 
117 (Ake W. Sjoberg, "in-nin sa-gur4-ra. A Hymn to the Goddess Inanna 
by the en-Priestess Enheduanna," ZA 65 [1975] 188) giri-iis-di-im-ma-kam 
(-dim- in my edition is a misprint; var. dim-ma) = ta-pu-ut r u-la 1 -li a-la-kum, 
"to give assistance to the weak;" gis-sub-lii-dim-ma, "the weak man's lot" 
CT 58 30 rev. 2 (5): Alster, SP I 288. dim-ma = ulalu (followed by sig-ga = 
ensu) Erimhus IV 1 16 (MSL 17 62). 

15 idim = a-la-lu (56') 

I assume a root '//, cf. Baumgartner 55 f. 'elil, "insignificant, vain;" Syr. 'alii, 
"weak," 'allluta, "feebleness," Payne Smith 18; cf. Akk. ulalutu, "helpless- 
ness;" Arab, 'alal, "useless" (in Baumgartner), identical with Emar a-la-lu 

20 For the following entry 684' idim = ki-saio-at-tuf. Arnaud 26; ki-sa-at-tuf. Sjoberg, ZA 
88 (1998) 275; read now ki-ir'- r sP-tii4, see John Huehnergard, "More on Kl.ersetu at Emar," 
NABU 1991/58. 

21 Cf. ti-il-har | GAxBAD = u-pu-ti sd AN-e Ea IV 236 (MSL 14 364; preceded by e-tu-tum 
GAxBAD = e-tu-tu 4 ). 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

if read alalu. idim = ulalu ("weak") in the preceding line strengthens our 
interpretation; also ulalu is probably from 'll. 22 

16 [BAD] = 'pe-et-tu-u 1 (57') 

If Akk. reading is accurate, BAD : bad = petu, "to open." 

B + A rev. iii 

(Emar 6/4 ed. 58'ff.) parallel Izi Bogh. B 12-21 (MSL 13, 144 f.) 

1 bu-luh-si-il-la = [g]is-li-ta ma-lu-u (58') 

2 bu-luh-si-il-la = V-li-ta ma-ku-u (59') (hardly Lg]/j-) 

bu-luh = gilittu, "fright;" cf. PSD B 168 s.v. bu-luh A, "fright;" Akkadian 
loanword (pulhu); bu-luh B, "to quiver, to be frightened." Reading pu-luh 
is preferable. 23 [bu-luh-si-il-la] : [bu]-lu-uh-si-la = ma-ku-u = si-nu-u-ra-as 
, . . ma-ku-u-tU4 = MUNUS-za [si-nu-u-ra-as] (Hitt. "a . . . woman") Izi Bogh. 
B 15-6 (MSL 13 144; PSD B 168). The meaning of maku (fern, makutu) is 
unknown. 24 Perhaps meku (maku), "to be negligent, to disregard" (CAD M/2 
s.v. meku, maku); meku, maku: meku, "idle" (CAD M/2 9). 

3 zi-[x]-az = za-za-AW-hu-ku (Emar 61 A ed. 60') 

Parallel Izi Bogh. B 17 (MSL 13 144): [...] : (pronunciation) [xJ-V-ma- 
az-za = hu-uk-ku = (Hitt.) V-[...]. CAD H 226 s.v. hukku (mng. uncert.) 
restores [MIN] [= bu-lu-uh-x]-x-ma-az-za. We get the impression that the 
Boghazkoy version is accurate, while the Emar version seems to be corrupt. 
uh'-hu-ku is hu-uk-ku in the Bogh. version. 25 The Sum. Emar version is 
then an error for zi-[ma]-az-za-za = uh'-hu-ku (probably error for hu-uk- 
ku). 2 * 

22 Different: AHw 1407 ulalu(m) (with ref. to ul "nicht" and ullu I "Neinwort, Absage") 
"Nicht-Mann, (geistig) Schwacher;" CDA 420 ulalu, "weak, helpless (person)." We do not 
concur with AHw. 

23 Cf. HAL : buliihc puluh), "worry, fright": bu -' u - u &buluh(HAL) = ha-a-su, "to worry;" as- 
buluh = MIN: SIGy.ALAN'lV 244-5 (MSL 16 86). To be'added in PSD B 168 s.v. bu-luh A 
"fright," and s.v. bu-luh B. 

24 bu-lu-iih, buluh : bu-lu-iih-gin7 si-il, bu-lu-iih si-il, "to belch, to burp" is a different 
expression: PSD B 167f. The two following passages are to be added in PSD B: udu-gin7 
ha-ba-lu-ga buluh-gin7 ha-ba-si-il-le, "puisse (tout cela) a'affaisser comme un mouton, se 
degurgiter comme un rot!" UET 6/2, 149 rev. 8': Antoine Cavigneaux and Farouk Al-Rawi, 
"Textes Magiques de Tell Haddad (Textes de Tell Haddad II). Deuxieme partie," ZA 85 (1995) 
45 U 8", transl. p. 46. i 7 -mah-zi-ga-gin 7 sa-ba bu-lu-iih ba-ni-ib<-si>- r il!'' YOS 11 80:1-2 
probably referring to the bubbling sound of swelling waters. 

25 See also hu-uk-ku, wr. hu-ku Emar 6/3 p. 393 no. 393:4, 5, hu-uk-k[i\ (plur.), p. 395, no. 
394:10, a kind of bread in Emar texts; (Emar) J. G. Westenholz, Emar 
Tablets 14 obv. 11; comm. 16 ref. to Walter Mayer, "Eine Urkunde iiber Grundstiickskaufe aus 
EkaltelTaW Munbaqa," UF 24 (1992) 270. 

26 Here ma-az, Akk. elesu; ulsu; ma-az-ma-az =hitbusu1 Cf. Ake W. Sjoberg, "Miscellaneous 
Sumerian Hymns," ZA 63 (1973) 1 1 f. 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

4 il = ku-sa-ru (61') 

Izi Bogh. B 18 (MSL 13 144): [il?] : [...] = ku-ta-ru = V-[...]. For the root 
ksr: see Baumgartner 503. For ktr. see Baumgartner 506 ktr I ("to stay, to 

5 il = mi-ta-ag-gu-ru (62') 

Izi Bogh. B 19 (MSL 13 144): [il ? ] : [...] = mi-ta-gu 5 -ru. Cf. Sjoberg, ZA 88 
(1998) 269 on Emar S a Voc. 51 1' il = magaru, "to comply, to consent." Emar 
6/4 ed. (p. 165): [ ] il both lines (61', 62') but Emar S a Voc. 511' has no sign 
before il. 

6 se-[s]e-ga = ma-ga-ru (63') 

7 nu-u[m-se-se]- r ga" 1 = [l]a ma-ga-ru (64') 

Cf. Izi Bogh. B 20-1 (MSL 13 144), possible restorations: [se-se-ga] : [...] 
= ma-ga-ru, [nu-um-se-se-ga] :[...] = la-a ma-ga-ru. 

Emar 6/4 no. 572 (p. 167f. Msk 7433; copy Emar 6/1 p. 176) 

1 su-gid = ka-mu-u 

kamii, "to capture," or kamu, "captured, captive." Cf. [( )]-la = k[a-mu-u], 
[su-d]ib-ba = MIN sa sa-ba-ti Antagal E i 1-2 (MSL 17 209). su-du = 
kamu: CAD K 129(a): ASKT 94-5:63; BE 15526 iv 14f. (A. Falkenstein, 
"Sumerische Beschworungen aus Bogazkoy," ZA 45 [1939] 24 n. 3). As far 
as I know, su-gid as corresponding to Akk. kamu is otherwise not attested. 
Cf. line 12 below: su-gid = qa-tU4 sa-ba-tU4. 

2 su-gid = ma-as^ku 1 

Akk. masku, "bad, ugly," can be ruled out. A translation "mixed" (cf. Baum- 
gartner 605 msk) is far from certain. 27 

3 su-galam-ma = si-it-tu 4 

su-galam-ma, "clever hand": galam = nkl: naklu, Sum. galam, "clever, 
artistic, perfect." The meaning of sittu remains obscure. 28 

4 su-luh = su-luh-hu 

21 With hesitation I refer the reader to Arabic msk: see Dozy 2 591 msk I "arreter, emprisonner;" 
IV'arreter, saisir;" see also Lane 3019f; VAF 11% masaka, "tenir a la main, saisir qqch;" Wehr 
1205-06. "Ergreifen, fassen, halten, festhalten; haften, hangen". The meaning of the Arabic 
msk goes well with the preceding entry su-gid = kamii. Cf. DIA 438 m-s-k. 
28 Cf. su-ga-lam (ga-lam = galam) as a name of a door of the Eninnu-shrine at Girsu, see 
A. Falkenstein, Die Inschriften Gudeas von Lagas (AnOr 30/1; Rome: Pontifical Biblical 
Institute, 1966) 140f, su-ga-lam understood as "die sich erhebende Hand;" also e-igi-su- 
galam, a shrine of Ninurta at Nippur, see George, House Most High 1 05 . PN ur-su-ga-lam-ma 
Struve, Onomastika 199; PN Ur III: ur-su-ga-lam-ma Limet, L'anthroponymie 561(+); su-ga- 
lam-zi-mu ("Sugalam-is-my-life") Limet, L'anthroponymie 531 (ITT 4 7318). It is uncertain 
whether there is a connection with the Emar lexical entry su-galam = sittu (sittu A, "rest, 
remainder, balance"; sittu B, "sleep;" sittu C, "excrement;" sittu D, "salted, dried meat"). 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

5 pe§6 = na-pa-su 

pes5i(, = napasu: AHw736(w. I); in CAD N/1 288 sign read as pes in Ea IV 119 
(Richard T. Hallock, The Chicago Syllabary and the Louvre Syllabary [AS 7; 
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1940] 19:1 15; MSL 14 360). pe-es 
| KAD5 = na-pa-su, pa-sa-du, ni-ip-su, nu-up-pu-su, sin-gu Aa VIII/ 1 : 1 8— 22 
(MSL 1 4 489 f.); cf. Antagal F 63 (MSL 1 7 2 1 5) pes = [na-pa-su], followed by 
[si]ki-pes5 = [ni-ip-su]: nipsu B. napasu in this Emar lexical entry is napasu 
B v., "to comb and clean wool": CAD N/1 291. See Waetzoldt, Textilindustrie 
1 12 f. with n. 293 on the sign pess. 29 For napasu, "to card (wool)" and napasu, 
"to breathe," cf. W.G. Lambert, "Converse Tablet" 351. 

6 MIN = sa-'pa^-su 

Emar 6/4 ed.: sa-pa-su ("to clasp; to grip, twist"?). 

7 MIN = le-e-tu 4 

le-e-tU4 stands for letu, "to split, to divide" (CAD L 148); Sum. dar = sa-la- 
tU4, le-tu-u Antagal III 19-20; in our lexical text (8), le-e-tu 4 is followed by 
sa-la-tU4 (= saldtu), "to split." 30 

8 MIN = sa-la-tU4 

CAD S 94 saldtu, "to split, to cut," also by-form saldtu. Cf. Emar 61 A 111 
no. 590:1-2 [...] = he-pu-<u/u>, [...] = sa-la-t [114]. 

9 MIN = sa-la-tU4 

10 MIN =pa-sa-hu 

pasahu may be connected with MHeb. pasah, JAram. pesah, "to tear off;" 
Syr. pe. "to cut to pieces," pa. "to shred," see Baumgartner 979-80; Sokoloff, 
Babylonian 942. If this interpretation is accurate, there is a connection with 
line 8 (and perhaps line 9). 

11 MIN = e-pis SIKI 

epis sipati, otherwise not attested, may stand for napis slpati, cf. above line 5 
(with comm.). 

29 OB lit. : siki nu-mu-un-da-pesVe gis-bala nu-mu-un-da-NU-NU, "she is not able to comb 
and clean wool, she is not able to spin with the spindle" Two Women B 68 (texts: A: CBS 141 74+ 
and dupls. [MS Civil]); kas-a kisi.|-ni dis-am im-ma-an-pess-pess, "the fox . . . 'combed' half 
his head" Enki and Ninhursaga 226. For kisi4 = muttatu A, cf. Ake W. Sjoberg, "Der Vater 
und sein missratener Sohn," JCS 25 (1973) 142; kisi4-a-ak = MIN (= gullubu) sa nutta[ti\ 
SIG7ALAN H 259 (MSL 16 175). P. Attinger, "Enki et Ninhursaga," ZA 74 (1984) 27(: 226) 
"Voila le renard qui se mit alors a lustrer(?) son poil." Bilingual: kur-ra siki-mas-a-giii7 mu- 
un-da-pess-pess = sa sada kima sarat buli tu-nap-pi-sii "(deity) who carded the mountain like 
animals' hair," W. G. Lambert, "The Converse Tablet: A Litany with Musical Instructions," in 
Studies Albright 345 rev. 4 (CAD N/1 291 s.v. napasu B v. bil. section). 

30 We exclude le-e-tU4. letu, "victory, power": CAD L 231 s.v. litu; note wr. le-e-tii (Sum. 
a-gal) in Izi Bogh. A 16 (MSL 13 132); in the Hitt. version misunderstood as "expert woman" 
MUNUS-za wa-al-kis-sa-ra-as; lines 15-6 have a-gal = le-e-u, le-'-ir. le'u ("able, skilled"). 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

12 su-gid = qa-tU4 sa-ba-tii4 (for qa-ta) 

13 su-gid = ba-ru-u 

su-gid = baru ("to look upon, to inspect") has been deduced from the 
compound mas-su-gid-gid = baru, "diviner," cf. [su]-gid = MIN(: ba-ru- 
u) sd ba-re-e, [mas-su]- r gid' l -gid = MIN sd ba-re-e SIG7.ALAN I 5"-6" 
(MSL 16 58), inMSL 16 58:5" restored [mas(-gid)]-gid: CT 19 39 (K4600, 
text F) in CAD B 155 lex. sect. 31 

14 su-gid = bcfl-V-Iu (md-- T x'-lu) 

ba- r DA'-lu is a possibility. For the root bdl ("divide; withdraw; change; 
exchange, replace") see Baumgartner 110; cf. E. Lipinski, "Su-bala-aka and 
badalum," in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft von Ebla (ed. H. Waetzoldt and 
H. Hauptmann; HSO 2; Heidelberg: Heidelberger Orientverlag, 1988) 258 ff. 

15 tu-bu-ul = r e' , -[l]e ] -pu 

Cf. SU.GID I du-bu-ul = elepu: du-bu-ul | SU.GID = e-le-pu Diri V 118; 
SU.GID = e-le-pu Proto-Diri 298 (OECT 4 152 vi 12).32 Cf. du-lu | SU.GID 
Proto-Ea 585 (MSL 14 55). li-ul : SU.GID = e-le-pu-um MSL 14 134 iii 6 
(may be an error). su-SUDUN = e-le-p[u] Erimhus Bogh. A 107 (MSL 17 
106). Proto-Diri 298 SU.GID = ma-ha'-ru. ga-SU.GID= su-un-nu-qu Izi V 
148 (MSL 13 165) : ga-dubul; the meaning oisunnuqu remains obscure (see 
CAD S/3 s.v.). 

Emar 6/4 no. 569 (p. 165 f. Msk 74122c; copy Emar 6/1 302-4; +Msk 
74178e; copy Emar 6/2 452) 

1-23' Lii = sa [Section U (Taylor, forthcoming)] 

31 Cf. su-gid-da = sanaqu A v. 4. (CAD S 133), "to check; to control; to interrogate": sa-na-qu 
sd LU Antagal B 232 (MSL 17 194), preceded by dini4 = sa-na-qu, dib-ba = sanaqu set 
sa-ba-ti, and followed by gis-gis-la = sanaqu sd is-ka-ri. 

32 (1) du-bu-ul = ha-mu-u Erimhus V 103 (MSL 17 71), preceded by a aru RI (vars. DA»- ru RI, 
a-ri) = ir-ru-um (CAD I/J 188 s.v. iru s., meaning unknown), and followed by nu-us-ri-a = 
sa-a-hu. The meaning of hamu is unknown. However, ha-mu-u in Erimhus V 103 (preserved 
in text B only) should be emended to ha-bu'-u, see here the following two lexical entries (2). 
(2) nig-du-bu-ul = [ha-b]u-um Nigga Bil. A 10' (MSL 13 112); a-du-bu-ul = ha-bu-'ii'-um 
Proto-Kagal 410 (MSL 3 78). Akk. habu(m) may be connected with Arabic hba (hbw) Lane 
507 "to join, to grow together;" cf. Akk. elepu: itlupu, "to be entangled," sutelupu, "to be 
entangled." (3) [su]-du-bu-ul Nigga 169 (MSL 13 100); su- r du n -bu<-ul> = se-e-yu-um Nigga 
Bil. B 130 (MSL 13 118); cf. su-gar = se-e-y[u]-um, su- r Dr-a = se-e-y[u\-um Nigga Bil. B 
126-7. se"u(m), seyum AHw 1095 f, "etwa aktions-, kampfunfahig machen;" CDA 337 s.v. 
se 'u, seyum, "to repulse." (4) lii-sa-du-bu-ul = sa se-e-s[e-e] OB Lu Q, 1 5 (MSL 1 2 1 96); CAD 
S/2 339 sesu in sa sesi (hunter/fowler using nets). r sa n -du-bu-ul = si-ki-in-nu-um, cf. CAD 
S/2 429 s.v. sikinnu B s., "fishing net." (5) du-bu-ul OB lit.: lii-kar-ra-bi U4 im-ma-du-bu-ul 
(vars. U4 im-ma(-an)-DU) Lamentation over Ur 226; cf. Romer, SKIZ 182; Jacobsen, Harps 
461 "he who had run away from it, the storm had thwarted" (his translation would require 
U4-de, ergative). (6) du-bu-ul in du-bu-ul-da-ba-al-za, see J. van Dijk, "Le motif cosmique 
dans lapensee sumerienne/Mcta Orient 28 (1964-65) 39 n. 109; D. O. Edzard, review of CAD 
G (1956) and H (1956), ZA 53 (1959) 207; M. Civil, "Notes on Sumerian Lexicography," JCS 
20 (1966) 120 [3.3]; Romer, SKIZ 182. 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

29—31' Lii = sa [Section K (Taylor, forthcoming)] 
37'— 46' Lii = sa [Section V (Taylor, forthcoming)] 

Emar 6/4 no. 573 (p. 168 Msk 74103a+74104a + 74103c; copy Emar 6/1 
255-7; + Msk 74106b; copy Emar 6/1 268) 

Nigga (nig-gur„) Bilingual (MSL 13 1 13-24); cf. NiggaUnilingual (MSL 13 

1' [nig-erim] = r[a-an-gu] 

Nigga Bil. B 5 nig-erim = ra-an-gu-[um]; Nigga Uniling. 5. 
2' nig- r a n -[zi] = si-[i-nu] 

Bil. B 6; Uniling. 6. 
3' nig-a-[x]-gar = t[e-qi-tii4~\ 

Bil. B 7 nig-a-takt-a = te-qi-tum; Uniling. 7 nig-a-takt-a. 
4' [nig-suj-tafkt] = su'-[bu-ul-tit4] 

Bil. 8 nig- r su n -tak4-a = su-bu-u-ul-tum; Uniling. 8 (-su-). 
5' [ni]g-gig = ik-[k]i-[bu] 

Bil. B 9 nig-gig = ik-ki-bu-um; Uniling. 9. 
6' (nig-gig) = ma-ru-us-[tii] (only in the Emar version) 

nig-gig = ikkibu, marustu Igituh short version 58-9. 33 

7' [nig]-gig-ga-a = ik-ki-bu 
8' (nig-gig-ga-a) = ma-ru-us-tii 
9' (nig-gig-ga-a) = mar-sa-tU4 

[nig]-gig-ga = ma-ar- r sa'-[t]um Bil. B 30; Uniling. 33. marsatum, "illness," 
is missing in AHw and CAD. Cf. Arabic mardatun Lane 2709(a). 

10' [nig]-al-di = e-re-es-tU4 

Bil. B 10; Uniling. 10. 

11' [ni]g-al-di-ak = MIN e-p[e]-su (not in the OB versions) 
12' nig-me-gar = qu-[u-lu] 

Bil. B 60 [nig-m]e-gar = qu-u- v lurrP; Uniling. 74. 

13' (nig-me-gar) = na-a-ru 

14' (nig-me-gar) = re-es-tu.4 

15' (nig-me-gar) = ri-sa-tii4 

16' (nig-me-gar) = is-di-hu 

33 33. B. Landsberger and O. R. Gurney, "igi-duh-a = tamartu, short version,'M/D 18 (1957— 


Ake W. Sjoberg 


nig-me-gar"- s " fl - a -['" m ] 

nig-mu-mu" fl -™-W Nigga Uniling. 72-5. 
[nig-m]e-gar = pu-uh-ru-um, qu-u^lum 1 
nig-mu-mii = ik-ri-b[u] Bil. B 59-61. 

13' Cf. Uniling. 75. ndru(m), "musician" (?). 34 
14' = re-es-tii4 : ristu, "exultation, rejoicing." 
15' = ri-sd-tU4. 
16' = is-di-hu. 

Cf. nig-me-gar al-kus = is-di-ih-hu KUD-os, "prosperity will come to an 
end" CT 41 27 rev. 10 (SB Alu Coram.). 

17' nig-zi = ki-it-tU4 

Bil. B 55; Uniling. 6. 
18' [nig]-gi-na = MIN (= kittu) 

Bil. B 54; Uniling. 61. 
19' nig-lul = sa-ar"-ru 

Uniling. 60. 
20' nig-lul-a = MIN 

Bil. B 53. 
21' nig-si-sa = e-se-ru 

Bil. B [nig-si]-sa = mi-sa-ru-[um\; Uniling. 67 nig-si-sa" ! '-™-''[" m ]. 

22' nig-nu-si-sa = la-a MIN(= e-se-ru) 
23' [ni]g-sa6-ga = du-um-qu 

To be added in AHw and CAD D s.v. dumqu lex. Cf. nam-sa6-ga = du-um- 
qum, nig-sa 6 -ga = da-me-eq-tu SIGyALAN R 189-90 (MSL 16 302). 

24' [nig]-sa6-sa6-ga = du-um-qa-tii4 

dumqatu is not found in the dictionaries. 
25' [nig]-sub-ba = na-di-tU4 

Uniling. 131 nig-sub-ba. 

26' (nig-sub-ba) = [n]a-[d]u-u 
27' [nig-gurud]-da = mi-i[q-tu 4 ] 

34 Emar 6/3 411, no. 426:2' wr. nu-a-ri (plur.). Cf. CAD N/1 378 in OA; jiuaru 378 f; STT 
2 402 rev. 4'f. (comm.) nu-a-ru; plur. nu-a-ra-ti (Nuzi) HSS 15 71:4; LU nu-'a-ri Ebeling, 
Parfumrez. pi. 49: 19 (NA; cited CAD N/1 377 s.v. ndru a 3'). 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 
Bil. B 102 r nig n -[gurud-d]a = [m]a-a[q]-tum; Uniling. 132 nig-gurud- 


28' (nig-gurud-da) = ma-DU-[x] (Emar 6/4 ed. ma-tu, there is one sign lost at 

the end, see copy). 
29' nig-ha ! -lam-ma = [ . . . ] 

Bil. B 84 nig- r ha-lanT-ma = sa le-mu-ut-tim; Uniling. 102. 

30' nig-x-x ... = [...] 

31' nig-sag-AS =[...] 

32' nig-x... = [...] 

48' [nig-kiir-di] = na-kar-tu 

49' nig-kiir-di-ak = sa {na} na<-kar>-ti 

50' nig-kiir-ak-ak = MU x sa na<-kar>-ti 

Cf. sa nakirtu, "enemy": CAD N/1 181, Sum. hi-nig-kur-ra. 

51' nig-ak = ke-es-pu (kispu); Bil. A i 7' 

Bil. B 38 nig-ak = ki-is-pu; Uniling. 45. nig-ak = kispu OB lex. and Emar 
not quoted in CAD K 454 f. s.v. kispu lex. section. 

52' (nig-ak) = ru-hu-u 
53' (nig-ak) = ru-su-'u 1 

nig-ak as corresponding to ruhu, rusu (: rusu), "witchcraft," is otherwise not 

54' n[ig]-ak-ak = e-re-[tU4] 

Probably erretu, "curse," cf. the writing e-re-tu-um (Sum. as) OBGT XIII 9 
(MSL 4 120). 

55' (nig-ak-ak) = up-sa-[su] 

Cf. nig-ak-a = upsasu: see AHw 1425 u. 2b. 

56' nig- r dim ?n -ma = UD-«/-[x] 
57' (nig-dim ? -ma) = bu-na-[x-x] 

Arnaud restores the text: pu-na-[na-ru]. On what grounds does he propose 
this restoration? The meaning otpunanaru is not known. 35 

58' nig-[di]m-ak = MIN (: bu-na-[...]) 

59' = MIN 

60' nig-gi[Iim]-ma = mi-se-ri 

The meaning of mi-se-ri remains obscure (probably <sa> mi-se-ri, cf. the 
following entries). 

35 Restoration bu-na-\nu-u\: bunnannu is a possibility; cf. CAD B 3 17, corresponding to,, 
nfg-dim-dim-ma (= nig-dim 7 -ma in the Emar lex. text). For wr. bu-na- (= bu-un-na-) see refs. 
in CAD B 318 b 2. 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

61' (nig-gilim-ma) = sa sa-ar-QV-ti 

One would be tempted to read sa-ar-ki-ti: root srk, cf. Dalman 301 serak, 
"verdrehen, verkehren;" Jastrow 2 1027 serak I, "to interweave, twist" (cf. 
gilim, gil = egeru, "to twist, cross"). 

62' (nig-gilim-ma) = sa sa-ah-lu-uq-ti 

nam-gilim(-ma) = sahluqtu (CAD S/l 98 f.); nig-gilim = sah-lu-uq-tU4 STT 
2, 219 ii 576'. 
63' (nig-gilim-ma) = 'mf-im-ma sa-Bl-qu 

sa-Bl-qu: root spq': spq, sfq I, "to strike, knock;" spq II, "to divide, distribute, 
to supply;" safeq, "doubt," see Dalman 298; Jastrow 2 1015 f.; cf. Baumgart- 
ner 765; sfq, "doubt" Sokoloff, Palestinian 386; sefeqa', "doubt, doubtful 
matter," sfyqt', "doubt," and sfq, "to be in doubt" Sokoloff, Babylonian 825- 
7; Arabic sfq, "to strike" Lane 1700. 36 

64' nig-sam-ma = MIN si-i-mi 

= Bil. B ni[g-sam-ma] = [s]a si-mi-im; Uniling. 79 nig-sam-ma 
65' nig-KI.LAM = MIN ma-hi'-ri 

= Bil. B 65 ni[g-KI.LAM] = sa ma-hi-ri-im; Uniling. 80 nig-KI.LAM. 
66' [nig]-duio- r ga" 1 = MIN r x*-sa-ru 

Arnaud: \m\a-sa-ru. 
67' = MIN \ta-a\-bu 

Nigga Uniling. 80 nig-duio-ga; om. in Bil. B. 


68' 'nfg^-a-t ] = [...] 
69' nig-t[e-en] = [...] 

= Bil. B 34 nig-[t]e-en = ka-su-u-[u]m; Bil. A i 3' nig-t[e-e]n = r ka-sip-u-um; 
Uniling. 38 nig-te-en. 

70' nig-iz[i(-x)] = [...] 

Emar 6/4 no. 574 (p. 170 Msk 74190h; copy Emar 6/2 464) 

Akkadian lost. Nigga (nig-gurn). 

1' nig-i[b ] 

2' nig-ib-[] 

3' nig-ib-tak4 = [...] 

36 With hesitation I refer to Arab, safiqatun, "calamity or misfortune;" plur. sawafiqu, safa'iqu 
signify accidents or evil accidents, Lane 1702(a). Such a meaning would go well with sa 
sahluqti in the preceding line (62'). 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

4' nig-fb-tak4 = [...] 

Entries not found in Nigga Uniling. or Biling. versions. Cf. Hh XXIII- 
XXIV Nippur Forerunner 6.1:36 (MSL 11 119) nlnda-ib-tak4 in section 
"bread" ninda; also in OB Forerunner 15:187 (MSL 11 155). IB.TAK4 is 
rihtu, "remainder, rest," plur. "leftovers;" ib-tak4 = sittu, "rest, remainder" 
(CAD S/3 136 s.v. sittu A). ninda-ib-taki may be leftovers from meals (as 
offerings) to the gods: see CAD R 340, 2a, where a number of passages are 

5' nig-sur-sur = [...] 
6' nig-sur-sur = [ . . . ] 

= Nigga Bil. A i 9' (MSL 13 113) nig-sur-sur = [...]. Cf, perhaps, nig-sur-ra 
(three times) Nigga Uniling. 47-9 (MSL 13 97); [nig-sur]-ra = mi-is-lum, a- 
ab-bu-um Nigga Bil. B 40-1 (MSL 13 116); nig-sur-r[a] = mi-is-lum Nigga 
Bil. A 11' (MSL 13 113). 

Emar 6/4 no. 575 (p. 170f. Msk 731055; copy Emar 6/1 131). 

Sag-Tablet; l'-13' = MSL SS 1 31:99ff Sag-Tablet Rec. B 

V sag-dingir = a-i-il i-li = B 99 [sag-dinglr] = [awll Hi] 

Sag A i 1 (MSL SS 1 18) sag = a-wi-lum. 

2' [s]ag-dingir-tuku = ra-si i-li = B 100 [sag- ] = [...] 

3' [sa]g-dingir-nu-tuku = la ra-si i-li = B 101 s[ag- ] = [. . .] 

4' [sag]-kur-ra = re-es sa-di = B 102 sag-[ ] = [ ] 

5' [sag-kur]-ra = sa-nu-u = B 103 sag- r x n -[ ] = [...] 

6' [sag-kur-r]a = na-ak-rii = B 104 sag-kiir-[ra] = [. . .] 

7' [sag-kus-daj-a = i-ri-nu (meaning?) = B 105 sag-kus-da = [...] 

8' [sag-bal]-la' = M-ka-rii = B 106 sag-bal-la = V- [. . .] 

Cf. CAD H 33 s.v. hakdru, Sum. has. Wehr 309 "schlecht behandeln;" 
Baumgartner 315. 37 

37 erim-kiMutu sag bal-e-dam Gudea Cyl. A xix 1 6 ("it was like Utu's shining team," Edzard, 
RIME 3/1 81); gii4-de gis-sudul-bi-a sag mu-ni-ib-bal-e Inanna and Iddindagan 91 ("The ox 
tosses his head in his yoke": Daniel Reisman, "Iddin-Dagan's Sacred Marriage Hymn," JCS 
25 [1973] 188); gU4-de gis-sudul-a sa[g mu-ni-ib-bal-e] Summer and Winter 46. gU4 burui4 
gis-aga-sila-ta gii ze-a saman sag bal-e Summer and Winter 192 (cf. transl. in PSD B 127b). 
gis-gurum-ma gis-ka-na-ka sag nam-ta-bal-e-en Geller, UHF 50:516; the bilingual version 
CT 16 32:163 [gis-gurum]-ma gis-sa-ka-na-ke4 na-an-ta-bal-e (sagom.) = [...] kip-pa-ti r x] 
[...] a-a ib-bal-ki-tu-ni; cf. Geller, UHF 118 (comm.). [x x] i-duio-ga gis-sakir-imin-e sag 
mu-na-ab-bal-e TuM NF 4 7 iv 179 (and dupl. Ni 9788:1 1); Akk. interlin. transl. (in A) i-zu> 
ra-a-tim. sila-dagal ezem-ma du-a-ba sag bal-e-es ba-ab-gar (var. r sag n r bal-e n ba-ab-gar) 
"in the broad street where feasts were held" Lamentation over Ur 214. Silver and Copper A 
110. Lexical: sag-[bal] = a-da-ru, sag-bal-ki-ta = su-tab-lak-ku-tu Kagal B 300-1 (MSL 13 
237). sag-bal-e Kagal D, B viii 6' (MSL 13 251). sag-bal-bi-e Proto-Sag E viii 6' (MSL SS 1 
13). sag-bal-gar-x OBGT III 82 (MSL 4 70). 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

9' [sag-gid-i] = [su]-ur-rii {surru v.) = B 107 sag-gid-i = SU-m[a] 

Cf. gii-gfd = sur-ru Izi F 113 (MSL 13 198); sag-ki-gid = sur qaqqadi Kagal 
B 251 (MSL 13 237). Cf. CAD S/3 356 s.v. surru v. On gii-gid and sag-ki-gid 

see CAD S/3 357(b), discussion. 

10' [sag-gid-gid-i] = [ma-a]P-hu = B 108 sag-gid-*-gid-i = [ma-a]l-hu 

(text -gid-i-i). malhu, "plucked": CAD M/l 162. 38 
11' sag-ki-gid = \gu-ub-bu\-hu = B 109 sag-ki-gid = gu-ub-b[u-hu] 

gubbuhu, "bald;" cf. Holma, Quttulu 38 f. 

12' [sag-sugs] = [sa-as-s]u-ku ] = B 1 10 sag-sugs = sa-as-s[u-uk-ku] 
13' [kus-u] = [ma-na-h]u = B 1 1 1 kiis-u = ma-na-h[u] 

manahu, "labor." Cf. a-kiis-u = manahtu. Ai. IV iv 1 8-9 (MSL 1 65) a-kiis- 
u-a-sa-ga = ma-na-ah eqli, but probably ma-na-ah<-ti> eqli. 

36' KA-sita-na = ra-a-t[u] 

Otherwise pas-sita(-na), see CAD R 219 s.v. ratu, "channel, tunnel." 
37' KA-gal = nam-sa-rii 

Stands for gir-gal = namsaru, "sword." 
38' KA-gal = pa-a-[at-rii] 

Not otherwise attested. 
49'-64' =SagB265ff 

Sumerian preserved in 59'-63' only. 

51' [eme-sig] = [su-ub-tu 4 ] = B 267 eme-sig = su-ub-[tum] 

eme ! -sig (= su-ub-'turri 1 ) UET 6 358:4 (MSL 16 45); 46 (preceded by 
subtu(KASKAL.LAGABxU/KASKAL.LAGABxU); UET 6 357:3 r eme n - 
r sig n -ga (followed by KASKAL.LAGABxU); Proto-Izi I 238-42 (MSL 13 
25) har-ra-an, ha-ra-an-gur, KASKAL.LAGABxU/LAGABxU, eme-sig, 
ka-giri (KA-giri = Akk. kibsu). For subtu, "ambush," see CAD S/3 1 84 5a-b 
s.v. subtu? 9 

38 Vb. malahu CAD M/l 152f. "remove(?);" D "to tear apart(?), to flicker(?);" AHw 593 m. 
IV "(her)ausreichen," Sum. ze, bu-iis: PSD B 169 "to pluck, to pull out," also corresponding 
to Akk. baqamu, nasahu. malahu, Sum. NI, is found in the Emar S a Voc. 104: Sjoberg, ZA 
88 (1998) 251, preceding line has NI =hukkutu(: hukkutu), "to rub, to scratch," and malahu is 
certainly "to pluck, pull out" and not "to salt" (as I assumed in ZA 88 (1998) 251). 

39 ur-bar-ra-gin 7 subtu(KASKAL.LAGABxU/LAGABxU)-ta zi-ga-ni dum-dam e-ak-da 
pirig-giii7 eme ! -sig-ta zi-ga-ni a-a r dub" l> -be-dam "when he (god Pabilsag), like a wolf attacks 
out from (his) (hiding) place, he . . . noise, when he, like a lion, attacks out from (his) 'ambush,' 
he ..." PBS 13 44:14-5(+ CBS 13961). eme-sig-ga na-a: TH 143 en-na nu-se-ga eme-sig-ga 
na-a, parallel TH 511; [...] eme-sig-ga n[a-a] HAV 5:19; eme-sig-ga na-a has to be translated 
as "to lie in ambush (for somebody)." In TH 511 we find var. usu sum-mu which led me to 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

52' [eme-sig] = [mu-sa]-bu = B 268 eme-sig = mu-sa"-[bu-um\ (musabum) 

Otherwise not attested. 

63' inim-e-gal = si-il-la-tU4 = B 280 inim-e-gal = ta-as-li-im-tum 

inim-e-gal = sillatu, "blasphemy, insult" is attested in other lex. texts, taslim- 
tu(m) ("completed handover, final payment") is an error for ta-as-si-tum 
itassitum) "insult" (AHw 1340), Sum. inim-e-gal. 40 

Emar 6/4 no. 576 (p. 172 Msk 74166b; copy Emar 6/2 423). 

1'. im-uis-lu = s[u-tu] 

2'. im-si-sa = il-[ta-nu] 

3'. im-kur-ra = sa-d[u-u] 

4'. im-mar-tu = a-mur-[rii\ 

Emar 61 A, 255, 651:15-8 and 47-50 denoting the four cardinal points. 
IM.Uis.LU Emar 6/4 p. 220:26' "the Southwind;" also p. 222:90'; 223 
no. 611:164'; 243, 623:6'; 624:5'; 244, 626:5'; ti-bu-ut IM.SI.SA ... ti-bu- 
ut IM.Uis.LU ... ti-bu-ut IM.KUR.RA ... ti-bu-ut IM.MAR.TU Emar 61 A, 

5'. zi-qu | ziqu 

CADZ 133 s.v.zTquA. 
6'. zi-iq-zi-qu \ ziqziqqu 

CADZ 134; AHw 1532. 

7'. [s]a-pdr-zi-qu \ saparziqqu 

CAD S/l 448 f; synonym of ziqziqqu and imhullu Malku III 177 ff. and LTBA 
2, 2:133 ff. = Akk. sdru. The meaning oisapar- is obscure. According to CAD 
saparziqqu may be a foreign word; however, -ziqu, -ziqqu is Akkadian. 

8'. [d\a-al-ha-mu ] -na (or -mun'-na) 

Sum. dal-ha-mun = asamsutu. dalhamuna is a loanword from Sumerian; 
also dal-ha-mun, ds-me-tu, etc. = a-sam-su-tu Malku III 1 93 ff. 

9'. [mu-uj^-mu-ur-ru 

[mu]rmurru seems to stand for *mermerru, cf. [i]m-me-er-me- r er' 1 | ENx 
[E]N = a-sa-a[m-tu-tum\ UET 7 76:1 (Proto-Diri), followed by [i]m-d[al-ha- 
mun] = a-sam-tu-tu[m], me-hu-um (asamtutum = asamsutum). Cf. IMxIM: 
me-er-me-re An-Anum III 210; ENxEN: me-er-me-re iii 211: ENxEN: 
dal-ha-mun III 214; cf. also III 213. Cf. im-mer-mer Sulgi Hymn A 63. 

interpret eme-sig-ga na-a as "poisonous foam is poured out upon it" in TH p 79 f. (comm. on 
TH 143). 

40 tas-si-tU4 (preceded by nu-ui-la-tU4 and ma-ag-ri-tU4, "insult") BAW 1 73:45 (An IX 1 05) but 
read there as tas-lim-tum. The same error is found in StBoT 7 19:20 inim-e-gal = ta-as-li-im-tii. 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

IM has a reading mur: see Ea VII iii 36' (MSL 14 452) mu-ur | IM = 
IM ki ; also Diri IV 128 (CT 51 80 ii 19) mu-ru | IM"; Hh XXI Section 7:37 
(MSL 11 17) IM"™-™ ki . d IM glossed by mu-ur in An-Anum III 207; IM: 
muru An-Anum V 38 IM glossed by mu-ru. 

Emar 6/4 no. 577 (p. 172 Msk 74191c; copy Emar 6/2 474). 


V [u-igl-bar]-ra = da-la-pu 

Restoration according to u-igi-bar-ra = da-la-pu ("to be sleepless"): MSL 12 
106 Lu Excerpt II 86 u-igl-bar-ra = da-la-pu; also u igi-za ba-ra = di-li- 
im-ma, Theophile James Meek, "Some Explanatory Lists and Grammatical 
Texts," RA 17 (1920) 121 ii 4. 41 

2' [...]-ra = pd-ru-u 

Not ba-ru-u, "to see, inspect;" cf. line 8' below. Cf. Erimhus VI 108-10 
(MSL 17 84): r u n -ri = e-rii (eru, "to be awake"); [u]-rl = r e-rP SIG7.ALAN 
IV 151 (MSL 16 82) [x] vr x" 1 =pa-ru-u (note pa-!) [...] = da-la-pu. For paru 
also MSL 9 96:207 (List of diseases) [...]-[x n = pa-ru-u, preceded by [lii]-lu 
= i-te-eq-lip-pu-u, i-ta-ak-tu-mu and followed by [...] = i-te-eq-lip-pu-u, i- 
tak-tu-mu, r duP-lu-ha-an, [h]a-a-su ("to worry" h. B v.), and [s]a-ha-tu ("to 
fear" s. B v.) [Sum. not preserved]. 42 Cf. lu lu - |u -lu = MIN(= ne-qel-pu-u) sa 
mur-si, "to ..., said of disease" 43 SIG7ALAN XXVII 182 (MSL 16 236). 44 

41 u igi-za ba-ra, "ban sleep from your eye!": CAD D 49(a) s.v. dalapu discussion. Cf. u-igi-la 
= bu- 7-u (: bu V'/u), "to look for" Erimhus I 202 (MSL 17 18).' 

42 paru seems to be the same in Arabic fariya, "he was/became confounded, perplexed;" 
wafaraytu min faza'in, "and I became confounded by reason of fright," cited Lane 2391(b), 
end; synonyms,, bahita (Lane 263), and dahisa (Lane 924), "to be/become confounded, 
perplexed." fariya, "etre etonne, stupefait" VAF 592. Note that paru in the List of diseases 287 
is preceded by [lu]-lu | lu, Akk. esu ("be/become troubled") and da-la-hu. AHw 837 paru II, 
"etwa Gemeines sagen" (based on Arabic fara, "Liigen erfinden") where MSL 9 96:207 is cited 
but as "unkl."para III (AHw 837), "sich erbrechen, vomieren" does not fit context in Erimhus 
VI 9 and List of deseases 207]. 

43 lu-lu as Akk. neqelpu is difficult to explain. SIG7.ALAN XXVII 180 (MSL 16 236) sii = 
ne-qel-pu-u; sii otherwise "to become dark; to cover" (ktm, shp). 

44 Cf. sag-gig dungu-diri-ga-gin7 lii-ra mu-un-na-te = mu-ru-us qaq-qa-di ki-ma er-pe-ti 
muq-qal-pi-ti ana ameli it-hi, "the headache, like a drifting cloud, has closed in on the man" 
CT 17 20 i 55 = von Weiher, SpTU 2 no. 2:55; sur-as-ru dungu-diri-ga-giri7 lu dim-ma 
ba-an-du-du = di-'-u sur-pu-u (var. su-ru-up-pu-ii) ki-ma er-pe-te muq-qal-pi-te ana bu-un- 
na-ne-e ameli it-tas-kan, "the headache and shivers, like a drifting cloud, have settled on the 
... of the man" CT 17 14:3^1. Cf. CAD N/2 173 s.v. neqelpu 3 IV/3 with refs. to Labat TDP 
34:24 (cf. ibid. 178:19) summa nakkaptasu sa sumeli ikkalsu u itteneqlippu (DIRI.MES-/?«), 
"if his left temple hurts him and ..." and STT 1 89:207 summa Tnasu itteneqlippd, "if his 
eyes ..." Cf. CAD A/1 310 alaku 3.e, "to be on the move" (said of eyes); neqelpu = alaku 
Thompson, Rep. 139 rev. 1; su-qel-pu-ii = alaku Aa III/l Comm. A 18 (MSL 14 18, there read 
su-hap-pu-u). nakkaptasu . . . itteneqlippu may refer to a pulsating ("drifting") artery; cf. CAD 
N 185 s.v. nakkaptu discussion, diri, sii = neqelpu, ir-ta-su-su = MIN sa zu'tu ("sweat") 
SIG7.ALAN XXVII 179-81 (MSL 16 236), followed by lui«- |u lu = MIN sa mursi. 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 



.-bar]-ra = nap-lu-su 



.-bar-r]a = a-ma ] -ru 



.-bar-r]a n = na-[ta]- r lu'~' 



.-bar-r]a ? = kul-[lu-mu] 



.-bar-ra] = da-ga-lu 

Parallel: Izi XV ii 2'-5' (MSL 13 169): [igi-bar], igi-bar = a-ma-[ru], ba- 
ru-[ii], na-ta-l[u], nap-lu-s[u]; igi-dus-bar-ra = naplusu Izi XV ii 8'. ba-ar 
bar = natalu, dagalu, naplusu, baru Aa 1/6:255-8 (MSL 14 233), for igi-bar; 
restore then [igi-bar-ra]. kullumu corresponding to igi-bar-ra is otherwise 
not attested. 

8' [...] = ba-ru-u ("to see, inspect") 

Rev. Sumerian lost. 

3' [•••] = nu-up- r pu'-su (Emar 6/4 ed. 1 1') 

nuppusu "crushed": CAD N/2 342. Restoration perhaps [diib-dub-bu]. 
4' [...] = [nu]-up-pu-su (12') 

If this restoration is accurate, cf. 572:5 above. 

5' SI[D ? -(x)] = nu-us-su'-qii (13') 

Cf. SID: sags / zag = nasaqu(m) , nussuqu: CAD N/2 21 s.v. nasaqu A v., lex. 
section (1). 

Emar 6/4 no. 578 (p. 172 f. Msk 74146f; copy Emar 6/1 367); Sumerian 
column not preserved. 

5' se-e[h-hi-ru-tu\ 

6' [IGI].DIM = sa-a[s-ha-ru] 

IGI.DIM : henzir = qudadu, la'u, laku, sehru, serru. sasharu, "progeny": 
CAD S 197, AHw 1033 "Jugend;" see Explicit Malku I 241 sa-as-h[a\-ru 
= se-eh-hi-ru-tu; cf. I 243 sa-as-ha-ar-tU4 = se-eh-hi-ru-tu). According to 
AHw 1033 ("sem. Fw.") and CAD S 197 sasharu (also sashartu) is of foreign 

11' [...] = up-pu-[(x)] 
12' [...] = ba-ar-t\u4[ 

Akk. bartu, "rebellion." bar-tU(4), "revolte," Emar 6/4 201, 605:5'; 205, 608:3; 
255, 651:26; 261, 652:13'; 284, 669:3. For Sum. Hi-gar, see CAD B 113 s.v. 
bartu lex. section. The Sum. logogram HI. GAR is found in Emar: LUGAL 
ina HI. GAR GAZ-ak, "the king will be killed in a rebellion" Emar 6/ '4 222, 
611:92'; also p. 224, 611:201'. 

13' [•••] = da-mu 

Stands for da'mu, "dark-colored, dark red," CAD D 74. da-mu, "blood" occurs 
in line 7' above. 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

14' [...] = da-'-a-m[u] | da'amu v. 
15' [...] = du-'-u -[mu] | du'ummu 

Sum. ki'ikku. see CAD D 203 du 'ummu (du'umu). Note wr. du- [du- in Emar 
6/4], Cf. [BE] d [UTU] ina KU4-5M U dii-'-um, "Si le soleil, a son coucher, un 
doigt est sombre" Emar 6/4, 271, 653:59'. 

16' [...] = V-nu-u-[()] 

Emar 6/4 no. 579 (p. 173 Msk 74165c; copy Emar 6/2 418). 
Hh XVIII: Civil, AuOr 7 (1989) 19. 

Emar 6/4 no. 580 (p. 173 f. Msk 74171e; copy Emar 6/2 434). 
Hh VIII-IX: Civil, AuOr 1 (1989) 15 f. 

Emar 6/4 no. 581 (p. 174. Msk 74172a; copy Emar 6/2 436). 

l' [...Hx^v-i...] 

2' [...]-saMIN = z«-[...] 

3' [hiib]-be MIN = hu-up-p[u] 

Perhaps hub-be = huppu, "acrobat," hi-hub = huppu: CAD H 240. 

4' [za-b]i-hu MIN = ta-bi-h[u] 

zabihu, "slaughterer;" in Emar referring to a person who performs the ritual 
slaughter of animals, see A. Tsukimoto, "An Akkadian Field Sale Document 
Held in Tokyo," ASJ 14 (1992) 313; cf. also J.G. Westenholz, Emar Tablets 
26 on line 18; Emar 6/3 no. 275:1, 2, 4 LU za-bi-hu sa DN; 276:23; p. 31 1 
no. 336: 105,109. For 5'ff. see Civil, AuOr 1 (1989) 16, Emar Hh XI-XII. 

Emar 6/4 no. 583 (p. 174 f. Msk 74158e; copy Emar 6/2 392). 
Lu = sa [Section I (Taylor, forthcoming)] 

Emar 61 A no. 586 (p. 1 76 Msk 7488f; copy Emar 6/1 222); Sumerian column 
not preserved. 

1' [...] = sa-ar-t[u4\ 
2' [...] = nu-la-a-t[u4J 

nig-nu-gar-ra, inlm-nu-gar-ra = nulldtu. 
3' [•••] = te-bu-tU4 I tebutu 

tibutu (tebutu), "rise, attack; uprising;" Sum. zl-ga. 

4' [...] = tah-li-t[u4] 

Emar 6/4 ed.: tah-li<-iq>-t[u 4 ]. Neither tahlitu nor tahliqtu is found in the 
dictionaries. I connect tahlitu with Arabic halla: hallay Lane 804, "to leave 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

(a place) empty;" Lane 804(a-b) tahliyat(un), "the leaving, making a thing 
to be alone; (the act of) loosing;" Dozy 1 403 "defection." Emar tahlitu < 
*tahliy-tu. I suggest a restoration [zi-ga] in both lines 3 and 4. Note tebum 
(Sum. zi) S with meaning "to remove." 

5' [•••] = nu-kur-tU4 

6' [...] = le-em-nu 

T [...] = [h]u-ul-[x] 

The reading [h]u-ul-l[u] (hullu, "evil") is excluded (see copy); [h]u-ul-u 
seems possible. 

Emar 6/4 no. 587 (p. 176, Msk 74101d; copy Emar 6/1 244) + 74 1021 (copy 
Emar 6/1 254; see Civil, AuOr 7 [1989] 22 ff.) 

Lii = sa [Section M (Taylor, forthcoming)] 

Emar 6/4 no. 593 (p. 178 Msk 74122w; copy Emar 6/1 308). 

See Civil, AuOr 7 (1989) 19 on lines l'-5': Hh XVIII. 

9' [K]A-pes 
10' KA-pes-[x] 

KA-pes may be connected with KA-pes, Akk. sullusu, "to do/say for a third 
time," CAD S/l 236 lex. section: Antagal C 29-32 (MSL 17 195) mu-un-ni- 
dun = qi-bi-su, u-mu-un-ni-dun = qi-bi-sum-ma, u-mu-un-ni-KA-tab = 
su-un-ni-sum-ma, li-mu-un-ni-KA-pes = sul-lis-sum-ma, "say it to him, say 
it to him for a second time, say it to him for a third time," and further lexical 
entries in CAD S/l; in MSL 17 195 read -dug4-pes. For KA-pes as "to say it 
a third time," see also SL 15:252; Falkenstein, ZA 45 (1939) 31 ("als drittes 
sagen"). Note that KA-pes and KA-tab are treated as compound verbs. 45 

Emar 6/4 no. 594 (p. 178 f. Msk 74123k; copy Emar 6/1 314). 

Sumerian column not preserved. See Civil, AuOr 7 (1989) 20. 

1' [ur4(-ur4)] = 'e'-se-ldu] | esedu 

2' [ur4-ur4] = ha-mi-mu \ hamimu 

3' [ur4-ur4] = ha-ma-mu \ hamamu 

4' [kin-kin] = si-te-'-u | site"u 

5' [kin-kin] = sa-hi-rii \ sahiru 

6' [kin-kin] = r sa'-ha-ru \ saharu 

7 [kin] = \s\i-ip-ru \ sipru 

Cf. Proto-Izi I 42-5a (MSL 13 18): kin-kin kin-kin™*-™] kin-kin*-*-"] 

ur 4 -ur4* fl - m [ a - m "]; ur 4 -[ur 4 ]. 

45 A second possibility would be ka-PES = kalu sa me SIGy.ALAN IX 250 (MSL 16 122). 


Ake W. Sjoberg 

Emar 614 no. 596 (p. 179 Msk 74123q; copy Emar 6/1 315). Sumerian 
column not preserved. 

2' [•••] = [x(-x)]-mu-mu 

Probably a quttulu word. 

3' [•••] = [k]ap-kap-pu (or [k]ab-ka-bu) 

Cf. CAD K 184 kapkapu, kapkappu, "strong, powerful; oppressor." Sum. 
TAG-ri-a = kap-kap-pu =(Hitt.) [ ]-an-za Erimhus Bogh. A 28 (MSL 17 
102), preceded by [gu]r4-ra = ki-it-ma-lu = T x-x-x-x*; kitmalu is not found 
in the dictionaries; cf. kitmulu, "very angry." Besides the references in CAD 
K, see further Miguel Civil, "Medical Commentaries from Nippur," JNES 33 
(1974) 338. 11 NT 5:6 (comm.) \ka\- T cP-pa : ha-ba-lu: kap-ka-pu : habbilu! 
kdpu = habalu ("to oppress"), kapkapu = [habbilu] ("oppressor"); cf. ka-a- 
a-i-pu{: kayyipu; CAD K 36 kaipu) = hab-bi-lu Malku IV 136. ka-a-pu (v.) 
also in 11 NT 5:5. 

4' [...] = ha-ar-har-ru \ harharru/ harharru 

paspass {GAG §57 a 4 a); GAG Erganzungsheft 10** §57 b: paspass III 
(von Soden paspass I) "fast nur Adjektive des Sinnbereichs 'gewaltig.'" 
Von Soden refers to kapka(p)u, marmarru (CAD M/l 284 has marmaru, 
AHw 612 marmar(r)u), as well as (p. 71:) dandannu, kaskassu (CAD K 290 
kaskasu, kaskassu). Since harharru follows kapkappu, harharru seems to be 
a Steigerungsadjektiv, but the sense of the word eludes me. 46 

5' [•••] = [q]P-pi-ir-ru 

I consider the reading [q]i- almost certain. For the root qfr in Arabic: see 
Lane 2550 'aqfara, "to become vacant, void (land);" qafrun, "vacant, void 
(land);" qifr, qafir, qafran, "desert" Dozy 2 383; also Wehr 696, qipirru, 
"vacant (land/place), desert." 47 

6' [•••] = \f\u-am-mu 

tuammu is not "twin," Hebr. te'om, and redupl. -mm- contradicts this mean- 
ing. However, the root could be t'm and tuammu: tu'ammu a nomen, type 
purass: GAG 63 §55 q 31 a; GAG Erganzungsheft 9**. ta'am, "to join, to 
combine" Jastrow 2 1642; t'm Baumgartner 1675; t'm, "to fit together, be 
equal" Sokoloff, Palestinian 574; "to come together" Sokoloff, Babylonian 

46 harharr: Arabic harhara, "to make a noise, to snore," cf. Dozy 1 360 harharat: "le bruit qui 
sort du poumon quand il y a trop de pituite; Le bruite de l'eau qui coule;" Wehr 329 harhara, 
"schnarchen." We see no connection with harharru in the Emar lex. text. Cf. 564 i 1' (above) 
har-hu-ru (with comm.). 

47 qipirru: nominal form piriss, GAG 55 q I, II; Erganzungsheft 9**; Kienast, HSS 76 64.2; in 
Arabic, see Brockelmann, Grundriss I 365 c) qitiil; in Akkadian and Arabic only, cf. Kienast, 
7/55104 99.1. 


Some Emar Lexical Entries 

Emar 6/4 no. 598 (p. 179 f. Msk 74132u; copy Emar 6/1 340) 
Lii = sa [Section I (Taylor, forthcoming)] 






Clyde Curry Smith 

For Erie, in memory of cordial gatherings more than forty 

years ago, along and across the massive table-desks of the 

Research Library at the Oriental Institute, University of 

Chicago, under the domain of Johannes Vindenas. 1 

Leonard William King 2 is no stranger to Erie Leichty. Already in his 1960 
doctoral dissertation Leichty had occasion to seek out the texts of the omen 
series Summa izbu, including especially those held among the Collections 
of the British Museum. While Percy Stuart Peache Handcock 3 copied these 
texts for Cuneiform Texts volumes 27 and 28 (1910), they were organized 

1 Miss Johannes Vindenas (26 April 1899-21 October 1988) was librarian from its inception 
in 1923 until her retirement in 1964. 

2 I must confess to thinking focally about Leonard William King (8 December 1 869-20 August 
1919) for most of forty years, but that thinking received a renewed impetus when late in 1998 
I was contacted by surviving members of his family with offers of access to his personal 
papers and ephemerae. Otherwise, see Clyde Curry Smith, "The Impact of Assyriology upon 
Old Testament Study with Special Reference to the Publications of Leonard William King" 
(Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1968); "A Reevaluation of the Excavation of Nineveh 
by the British Museum in 1903-1905, Based on the Unpublished Papers of Leonard William 
King, Part I: The Comprehensive Bibliography of Leonard William King (1869-1919)" (report 
of a study submitted and filed with the Committee on Research and Studies under state- 
supported, institutional Grant No. 0600-4-71, University of Wisconsin — River Falls, 1974); 
"Leonard William King, 1869-1919" in Read More About It, Volume 3: An Encyclopedia of 
Information Sources on Historical Figures and Events (Ann Arbor, Mich.: The Pierian Press, 
1989) 373-5; "King, Leonard William" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Vol. 31, 
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 644-645. See also Mary Magnan D'Andrea, "Letters of 
Leonard William King, 1902-1904; Introduced, Edited and Annotated with Special Reference 
to the Excavations of Nineveh" (MA. thesis, University of Wisconsin — River Falls, 1981); 
and "A Catalogue and Discussion of the Letters, Diaries and Notes of Leonard William King, 
Housed in the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities, the British Museum" (unpublished 
report, University of Wisconsin — River Falls, 1982). 

3 Handcock (188x-1927), M.A., Barrister-at-Law, is but minimally known; he was present 
within the British Museum Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities only from his 
appointment on 13 April 1908 (Official Appointment Letter from Edward Maunde Thompson, 
Director and Principal Librarian, British Museum, to E. A. Wallis Budge) until his personal 
resignation on 19 January 1912 (Letter of Handcock to Budge, Departmental Archives, British 
Museum), having come into the Museum service from being an assistant master at Magdalen 
College School, Brackley, Northants. During his tenure within the Department Handcock 
was frequently ill, witness doctors' certificates and other notes to Budge included in the 
Departmental Archives, British Museum. 


Clyde Curry Smith 

edited, and corrected by the diligence of Leonard King, whose meticulous 
skill at such sorting matters had already appeared most notably in his edition 
ofEnuma elis (1902). 4 That Leichty also subsequently (1964-1988) followed 
more fully in King's footsteps by engaging in various cataloguing projects 
related precisely to those Collections at the British Museum — a matter dear 
to the heart of King as evidenced in the Guides (1900 and 1908), and the 
Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets in the Kouyunjik Collection, Supplement 
(1914) — makes this selection of focus not without some legitimate propriety 
in a volume honoring the long and productive career of Erie Leichty 

We first meet Leonard William King of the British Museum with reference 
to the University of Pennsylvania in 1906 as a name provided, at the request 
of Hermann Vollrat(h) Hilprecht, as documentation for the so-called Peters- 
Hilprecht Controversy volume, by Luzac and Company as one of their 
unidentified contributors to Luzac's Oriental List and Book Review. 5 This 
controversy itself does not seem to have actually spilled over onto King or 
his colleagues at the British Museum. 6 It should be noted however, that King 

4 Sidney Smith (29 August 1889-12 June 1979), Keeper of the Department of Egyptian and 
Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum, 1931-1948, in a personal letter to C.C. Smith, dated 
24 February 1 964, remarked, "Asa feat of pure scholarship his Creation was overwhelming; 
the search through tiny fragments of clay for bits of a text required that kind of complete 
concentration and reasoning I cherish. This faculty was nourished by King's habit — Campbell 
Thompson had it too — of repeating aloud in recitative the literary texts." 

5 The So-Called Peters-Hilprecht Controversy (ed. Hermann V Hilprecht; Philadelphia: 
A.J. Holman and Co., 1908) 348-9, including note *; King had reviewed Hilprecht, BE 20/1 
( 1 906); cf Paul Ritterband and Harold Wechsler, "A Message to Lushtamar: The Hilprecht Con- 
troversy and Semitic Scholarship in America," History of Higher Education Annual 1 (1981) 
5-41 (with reference to reviews, p. 34, n. 26). See also Bruce Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon: 
The Ancient Near East and American Intellectual Life 1880-1930 (Princeton: Princeton Uni- 
versity Press, 1996) 123^-0 (= Chapter 6), though this volume employs a narration of the 
early history of excavations at Nippur as a foil to his sub-titled intention through most of the 
preceding chapters. Otherwise note the equally idiosyncratic summaries to that of Kuklick's in 
C. Wade Meade, Road to Babylon: Development of U.S. Assyriology (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974) 
72-6; and in Cyrus Herzl Gordon, The Pennsylvania Tradition ofSemitics: A Century of Near 
Eastern and Biblical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (Atlanta, Ga. : Scholars Press, 
1986) 9-10 and 29-32. The Peters of the Hilprecht-Peters Controversy is John Punnett Peters 
(16 December 1852-10 November 1921); cf. WWWA 1 (1942) 963^1; George Aaron Barton, 
DAB 14 506-7; Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon 26-7, with photo, p. 96 fig. 8. On Hilprecht 
(28 July 1859-19 March 1925), see WWWA 1 566; GA. Barton, DAB 9 58-9; Benjamin 
R. Foster, ANB 10 825-7; Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon 6-7 ("Hilprecht's shadow over this 
book, sometimes dark, is always long") and 33-4, with photo, p. 95 fig. 5. King himself noted 
his own correspondence with Hilprecht "in the autumn of" 1906, discussing "some of the 
conclusions at which I had arrived with regard to the overlapping of the early Babylonian 
dynasties," in Chronicles Concerning Early Babylonian Kings including Records of the Early 
History of the Kassites and the Country of the Sea (London: Luzac and Co., 1907) 1, 11-2 
n. 3; cf. C.C. Smith, "Impact," 76 n. 3, and 165-6 including n. 4. The text under discussion 
appeared in Hilprecht, Mathematical, Metrological and Chronological Tablets from the Temple 
Library of Nippur [= BE 20/1 (1906)] pi. 30 No. 47 = CBS 19797, the first of the published 
fragments of the Sumerian King List; cf. Thorkild Jacobsen, The Sumerian King List (AS 11; 
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1939) 1 and 7. 

6 For one example of British Museum awareness and reaction, see Ernest Wallis Budge, The 


Some Footnotes to the History of Assyriology 

contributed as an appendix a note on "The Nippur Deluge Fragment" to the 
longer encyclopedia article on "Nippur," which was written by John Punnett 
Peters and had but a minimal hint of the larger controversy 7 

We next meet Leonard King with reference to Penn in a letter now pre- 
served in the Archives of the University of Pennsylvania Museum. 8 Evidently, 
there had been correspondence from George Byron Gordon to King (though 
a copy has not yet emerged from among the extensive family holdings), sub- 
sequent to the former's appointment as Director of the University Museum 
earlier in 1910. King's belated response of congratulations, dated 17 August 
1910, expressed pleasure in learning that the Museum's collection of Nippur 
tablets was "now available to all Babylonian scholars" though, while he might 
wish to avail himself of that fact, he was not presently in a position to visit 
America. In fact King never did have occasion to visit America, although he 
had further interaction with Penn. 

On 26 August 1910, according to a letter preserved in the administrative 
records, Hilprecht submitted his resignation as "Curator of the Babylonian 
and General Semitic Section of the Museum of Archaeology of the University 

Rise & Progress of Assyriology (London: Martin Hopkinson & Co., Ltd., 1925) 246. That 
the controversy had a base in alternate archaeological sensibilities and methods is shrewdly 
observed by Svend Aage Pallis, The Antiquity of Iraq : A Handbook of 'Assyriology (Copenhagen: 
Ejnar Munksgaard, Ltd., 1 956) 287 and 305-6; and more recently by McGuire Gibson, "Nippur, 
B," RIA 9/7-8 547-50, with general but unspecified reference to Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon, 
though one might note pp. 141-57 (= chapter 7 "Archaeology and Objectivity"). 

7 L.W. King, "The Nippur Deluge Fragment," Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.; 1910— 
1911) 19, 708-9, who recognized its Kassite date; cf. C.C. Smith, "Impact," 255-8. The 
Semitic text involved (CBS 13532) appeared under Hilprecht's name in The Earliest Version of 
the Babylonian Deluge Story and the Temple Library of Nippur (BE series D V/l ; Philadelphia: 
University of Pennsylvania, 1910), derivatively in Der neue Fund zur Sintflutgeschichte aus 
der Tempelbibliothek von Nippur (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1910), and has most recently 
been reedited by W.G. Lambert and A.R. Millard, Atra-hasis: The Babylonian Story of the 
Flood (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1969) 126-7. The specific involvement in the larger 
controversy by the original publication of this text is observed in Ritterband and Wechsler, 
"Message to Lushtamar" 20, with endnote awareness of King's contribution (p. 36 n. 39). 

8 Letter of L.W. King to G. B. Gordon, 17 August 1910; University of Pennsylvania Museum 
Archives, Administrative Records, Director's Office, George B. Gordon, Box 11, Folder 
K. The letter was written on official stationery from the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian 
Antiquities, British Museum. On G. B. Gordon (4 August 1870-30 January 1927), see WWWA 1 
470; Budge, Rise 253 with photo facing p. 252; Elin Danien, ANB 9 286-7. Kuklick, Puritans in 
Babylon 1 1 7 claims Gordon to have been "not friendly to Near Eastern archaeology" but ignores 
the frequent contacts with Budge and/or King of the British Museum, who were concerned 
with "Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities" — though one might also note Kuklick's general 
avoidance of the British side of all matters pertinent to his study! Peculiarly, neither Gordon 
nor his role receives reference in Ritterband and Wechsler, "Message to Lushtamar," in spite of 
their pro- American, rather than German-dependent, view of the history of American Semitic 
scholarship. On the other hand, King in the first of his Schweich Lectures on 1 4 December 1916, 
paid particular homage to the "present energetic Director of the Museum, Dr. G.B. Gordon" 
for speeding up "the process of arranging and publishing the mass of literary material" held 
at Pennsylvania; cf. Legends of Babylon and Egypt in Relation to Hebrew Tradition (London: 
For the British Academy, 1918)21. 


Clyde Curry Smith 

of Pennsylvania," 9 though, as Erie Leichty reminded me, that resignation had 
been submitted "in a fit of pique"; its acceptance by the University apparently 
so shocked Hilprecht that he left the University, keeping with him his private 
collection of tablets and objects next to be found in Munich. 10 Hilprecht, who 
had an American wife, did return after the First World War to retirement and 
death in Philadelphia, though most of the private collection remains in the 
Frau Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities at the Friedrich Schiller 
University in Jena. 

Clearly, the resignation by Hilprecht and its acceptance by the University, 
effective apparently from the beginning of 191 1, left the academic situation 
at Penn short of a major Assyriologist. A sequence of letters in the collection 
of King's ephemerae documents shows how the university tried to solve 
this problem. On 13 September 1912, Edgar Fahs Smith, newly-appointed 
Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, wrote directly to King offering 
him, "in a perfectly unofficial way, but if you could give me an idea of 
whether you would like to come out, I can make you a definite offer," the 
Chair and Professorship of Assyriology at an annual salary of £ 1 ,000. ' ' King 
might have seemed the ideal candidate, not only by virtue of his extensive 
publications in Assyriology, 12 but also as a consequence of his excavations at 
Nineveh — even if those results were then but poorly published or known. 13 

9 Letter of H.V Hilprecht to The Board of Managers of The Museum of Archaeology, 
University of Pennsylvania, 26 August 1910; University of Pennsylvania Museum Archives, 
Administrative Records, Near East Section, Box 5, Hilprecht Controversy 1898-1911 (2 of 2). 
The letter was written on private stationery from "Bit-Shulmi, Hailer bei Meerholz, Hessen- 
Nassau." Details of the chronology of this resignation are also found in Ritterband and Wechsler, 
"Message to Lushtamar" 21-3; and in Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon 136^40 and 158-62. 

10 Letter of Erie Leichty to C.C. Smith, 3 November 2000. For a brief summary of Hilprecht's 
activities after his resignation, including his travels before and his humanitarian efforts during 
the First World War, see Foster, ANB 10 826. 

11 Letter of E.F. Smith to L.W. King, 13 September 1912, family possession. Smith added 
rather peculiarly but quite emphatically, "You wouldn't be in the slightest disturbed by Hilprecht 
or by Dr. Gordon." On Smith (23 May 1854-3 May 1928), see C. A. Browne, DAB 17 255-6; 
he was Vice Provost from 1898 and Provost from 1911 until his resignation in 1920. 

12 For a comprehensive listing of those publications, see C.C. Smith, "Impact" 102-31 and 
"Reevaluation" 4-23 . 

13 On King's excavations and their minimal publication, see C.C. Smith, "Impact" 63-70, 
with citations of older references; Richard David Barnett, Sculptures from the North Palace of 
Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1976) 24-6; M. D'Andrea, 
"Letters" passim; John Malcolm Russell, Sennacherib's Palace Without Rival at Nineveh 
(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991) 43^4; R.D. Barnett, Erika Bleibtreu, and 
Geoffrey Turner, Sculptures from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh 1: Text 
(London: British Museum Press, 1998) 7 and 17; J.M. Russell, The Final Sack of Nineveh 
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998) 22-6; Julian Edgeworth Reade, "Ninive (Nineveh)," 
RIA 9/5-6 392 and 431. Even King himself appears only once to have referred to any specific 
result of his excavations at Kuyunjik, namely "the existence of a Neolithic settlement" found 
"when sinking shafts into the lowest stratum just above the level of the plain;" cf. A History of 
Sumer and Akkad (London: Chatto & Windus, 1910) 243 n. 3. 


Some Footnotes to the History of Assyriology 

On 24 September, King responded to what he regarded as "a great 
honour," giving as his reason for declining the fact that: 

After so many years of service in the B.M. I feel it would be too great a wrench 
to give up my work here, though, had your offer come to me some few years ago, 
I have little doubt I should have accepted it gladly. 14 

We will come back subsequently to some particulars of this offer and King's 
response, but we need first to note the immediate consequence. On 9 October 
1912, in a letter marked "Personal" but sent to King at the British Museum, 
E. F. Smith sweetened the offer with the words, "Are there conditions under 
which you would be willing to consider taking up the Professorship of 
Assyriology in this University? In other words, what would bring you to 
us?" 15 The draft of the subsequent reply, written in October but undated, 
expressed once again King's personal thanks to Smith, but concluded, "What I 
feel is that my roots are too deep in this country to allow of my transplant 
<of> myself and my family to any other." 16 

Some points in this correspondence warrant discussion, especially the 
proffered annual salary of £1,000. Under the gold standard at the beginning 
of the twentieth century, the pound sterling "traded within just a few cents of 
the official parity of £1=$4.86 from 1900 to 1914," so that the initial offering 
to King would have been as a full professor at the equivalent of U.S. $4,860. 17 
Of comparable academic offers in that era, we could note that on 21 August 
1906, Reginald Campbell Thompson was initially invited by Robert Francis 
Harper to come to the University of Chicago as an Instructor at an annual 
salary of $1,200; on 26 September, this was raised to Assistant Professor at 
$2,000. 18 Thompson did serve in that capacity for academic years 1907-09. 

14 Draft letter of L. W. King to E.F. Smith, 24 September 1912, family possession. 

15 Letter of E.F. Smith to L.W. King, 9 October 1912, family possession. 

16 Draft letter of L.W. King to E.F. Smith, October 1912, family possession. 

17 Michael Dintenfass, "Gold Standard," in Twentieth-Century Britain: An Encyclopedia (ed. 
FM. Leventhal; New York & London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995) 329. 

18 Thomas G. Klein, "The Letters of Reginald Campbell Thompson, from the 1904-05 
Excavation of Nineveh, Introduced, Edited and Annotated" (M.A.T. thesis, University of 
Wisconsin — River Falls, 1992) 163. Campbell Thompson was present within the British 
Museum department from his appointment on 6 September 1 899 (Official Appointment Letter 
from John T. Taylor, British Museum, to E. A. Wallis Budge) until his personal resignation 
effective 5 December 1905 (cf. Klein, "Letters" 162). Explanations for this resignation appear 
in Thompson's private letters to his father, Reginald Edward Thompson, of 20 April and 18 
May 1906 written from camps near the Red Sea, and to Harper of 3 September 1906 from 
his London address. On Thompson (21 August 1876-23 May 1941), see Godfrey Rolles 
Driver, "Reginald Campbell Thompson," Proceedings of the British Academy 30 (1944) 1-39; 
C. C. Smith, "Thompson, Reginald Campbell," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
(Vol. 54, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, 462^163). On Harper (18 October 1864-6 
August 1914), see WWWA 1 522; G. A. Barton, DAB 8 284-5; Budge, Rise 253^1; C. C. Smith, 
"Robert Francis Harper, 1864-1914," in Read More About It, Volume 3 279-81 (based chiefly 


Clyde Curry Smith 

Comparatively, the salary earned by Albert Ten Eyck Olmstead at the Uni- 
versities of Missouri and Illinois, respectively, can be followed from 1909 
through 1917 and then till 1929; starting as Instructor at $1,000 in 1909, 
it progressed to Associate Professor at $1,800 in 1914, Professor at $3,000 
in 1917, up to $5,500 in 1927. 19 Penn's initial offer to King in 1912 seems 

It is especially so when we consider King's salary at the British Museum, 
though it is probable that one should occasionally take into account some 
perquisites that do not appear within his salary base. According to the 
Trustees Archives, King was hired effective 1 5 August 1 892, as Departmental 
Assistant of the Second Class at an annual salary of £120 plus £10 increment 
to become applied on each subsequent anniversary 20 In the course of his 
career he became an Assistant of the First Class after a meeting of the 
Trustees on 6 November 1905, 21 and was nominated for the position of 
Assistant Keeper of the Department by its head on 4 January 1909; 22 this 
later recommendation, however, was not fulfilled until 2 1 July 1913, and then 
only at a salary of £520. 23 It remains difficult to identify what King had in 
mind in his initial reply to E. F. Smith, concerning the "some few years ago" 
when Penn's offer would have been acceptable. King did not marry until 21 
February 1906, with children following on 5 December 1907 and 1 February 
1910. 24 Whether these matters, or the delay concerning his promotion, are 
what he had in mind when he turned down Penn's general offer can no longer 
be discerned. 

The matter of Hilprecht and Penn's offer, however, continued to remain 
in the back of King's mind. He had the opportunity in the spring of 1914 to 
pursue a "study vacation" within the major museums and cities of Europe, 
ostensibly working primarily upon their several collections of seals and 

on British Museum materials). For a less favorable view of "Frank" (!) Harper, see Kuklick, 
Puritans in Babylon 31-2 and 109-12, though there is some merit to the notion Harper 
could enjoy the good life, including his cigars (as could King!), witness the exchange of 
correspondence with Thompson, a non-smoker! 

19 James D. Rapp, "Albert Ten Eyck Olmstead, American Historian of Cuneiform Antiquity: A 
Bio-Bibliography and Historiographic Study" (M.A.T. thesis, University of Wisconsin — River 
Falls, 1971) 137-9. On Olmstead (23 March 1880-11 April 1945), see WWWA 2 405; John 
Anthony Brinkman, DAB Suppl. 3 572-3. 

20 Trustees Archives, British Museum. 

21 Official letter of XT. Murray, Treasury Chamber to The Trustees of the British Museum, 6 
November 1905, Trustees Archives, British Museum. 

22 Official handwritten letter of recommendation of E.A. Wallis Budge, Keeper of the De- 
partment of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, 4 January 1 909, Trustees Archives, British 

23 Trustees Archives, British Museum; Who Was Who 1916-1928 587. See also note 32 below. 

24 Dates and particulars confirmed by marriage and birth certificates, and by references in 
letters or telegrams from L.W. King to E.A. Wallis Budge, dated respectively 27 February 
1906, 5 December 1907, and 1 February 1910; Departmental Archives, British Museum. 


Some Footnotes to the History of Assyriology 

tablet-sealings. 25 He passed initially from Paris to Berlin, where he learned 
that in order to have access to some desired materials in Constantinople he 
would require Hilprecht's authorization. Therefore, he detoured to Munich to 
meet with Hilprecht and saw for the first time Hilprecht's "private museum" 
and cuneiform tablet collection. In a personal letter to his wife, dated 1 3 May 
1914, King told her of this necessary detour from his original and intended 
itinerary, and added a telling comment: 

My meeting will be <an> interesting on<e> & I wonder if I shall get the 
permissions I want out of him? But I could not help them offering me his 
post & it is not as though we had accepted it. 26 

That uncertainty of reception proved ungrounded. King not only got the 
desired permission for use of materials in Constantinople but was warmly 
received by Hilprecht and shown the extent of his private collection. Though 
King and Hilprecht had previously corresponded it is clear the two had 
not met face to face. And the rather scurrilous recollection of Hilprecht by 
E. A. Wallis Budge seems not to have played any role at this date, though we 
are missing Budge's letters to King during this study tour. 27 Nevertheless, the 
mood before the meeting is a most interesting detail relative to the sequence 
of events as well as to that of King's subsequent correspondence with his 
wife, including in passing a most intriguing comment upon Hilprecht's wife: 
"Mrs Hilprect is a typical American woman with a passion for collecting 
subjects. She has white hair & is lame & probably a little older than he is." 28 

25 C. C. Smith, "Impact" 87, with citations of King's own published references; see also the 
several collections of letters written between 24 April 1914 and 13 June 1914; respectively thir- 
teen somewhat formal and quite business-like to E. A. Wallis Budge, Departmental Archives, 
British Museum, and twenty-seven very informal and intensely personal to his wife, Anna 
Maria King, in family possession. 

26 Letter of L. W. King from Hotel Prinz Albrecht, Berlin, to Anna Maria King, 13 May 1914, 
family possession. 

27 Budge, Rise 288-9. On Budge himself (27 July 1 857-23 November 1934), see E. A. Wallis 
Budge, By Nile and Tigris: A Narrative of Journeys in Egypt and Mesopotamia on Behalf of the 
British Museum between the Years 1886 and 1913 (London: John Murray, 1920) passim and 
Rise passim with photo facingp. 168; WWWA 3 185-6; Sidney Smith, DNB 1931-1940 121-3; 
Who Was Who in Egyptology (3rd revised ed.; London: The Egypt Exploration Society, 1995) 
71-2 with photo. Corrective comments on Budge's autobiographical recollections, especially 
relative to his acquisition of cuneiform tablets, are found in C.B.F. Walker, "Introduction," in 
Tablets from Sippar 3 (vol. 8 of Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum; 
ed. Erie Leichty, J. J. Finkelstein, and C. B. F. Walker; London: British Museum Publications, 
1988) xi-xxv. 

28 Letter of L. W. King from Hotel Rheinischer Hof, Miinchen, to Anna Maria King, 15 May 
1914, family possession. This second Mrs. Hilprecht is to be identified with Mrs. William H.H. 
(Sallie Crozer) Robinson, daughter of Samuel Aldrich Crozer, whom he had married 23 April 
1903; see G.A. Barton, DAB 9 59; Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon 123. Foster, ANB 10 826 
notes that her "wealth and social standing made possible for him a way of life not typical of 
a university professor of the time;" cf. Ritterband and Wechsler, "Message to Lushtamar" 21. 


Clyde Curry Smith 

The matter of the offer from Pennsylvania, however, does come back up 
once more in King's materials. In a draft of a letter, dated 20 November 
1917, from Albert Tobias Clay to King, Clay expressed the thought to King 
that "you must rejoice when you think of what you escaped by not accepting 
their call." 29 To be sure, it must be noted that Clay himself had been among 
the younger appointees at Pennsylvania from 1892, when he assumed a 
lectureship until the academic year 1910-11. At that time he was named to 
the new chair at Yale as Laffan Professor of Assyriology, though Penn had 
promoted him professor of Semitic philology and archaeology in 1909, and 
he had served as departmental chair. 30 

Finally, relative to King's own situation in Britain, we should note that 
upon his return from Europe, Cambridge University granted him an hon- 
orary Litt.D. on 23 June 1914, 31 and on 24 March 1915 the University of 
London extended to him "the title of Professor of Assyrian and Babylo- 
nian Archaeology in the University." 32 However, it has been impossible to 
ascertain whether some stipend was involved, or whether King actually per- 
formed any duties under that aegis, since he was seconded to the Office of 
the Admiralty — under the requirements of the First World War, according 

Mrs. Robinson also brought to the marriage a fifteen year old son, who, as stepson to Hilprecht 
who had children by neither marriage, was admiringly recalled by Gertrude Bell in a letter of 
4 June 1 907 to her mother and in her diary entry of that same date. 

29 Draft letter of A.T. Clay to L.W. King, 20 November 1917, Babylonian Collection, Yale 
University (see also below note 41). King and Clay had earlier been in communication, when 
King was completing his A History of Babylon (London: Chatto & Windus, 1915), and Clay had 
provided in advance of publication "a transcript of his Larsa Kings' List with full permission to 
make use of it" (89 n. 5). Copies of letters from L. W. King to A. T. Clay, 1 May 1915 and 2 May 
1915 discuss aspects of this Larsa Kings' List, Babylonian Collection, Yale University. The 
text itself appeared in A. T. Clay, Miscellaneous Inscriptions in the Yale Babylonian Collection 
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1915) pi. 19 No. 32 = YBC 2142. 

30 On Clay (4 December 1866-14 September 1925), see WWWA 1 228; G. A. Barton, DAB 4 
168-9; Budge, Rise 255-6 with photo facing 256; Meade, Road 37 and 71-2; C.H. Gordon, 
Tradition 14-8; B.R. Foster, ANB 5, 17-8. For a more pejorative view, linking Clay's acquisition 
of the Laffan Professorship to his having "ingratiated himself with <the New York financier 
John Pierpont> Morgan because of a long fight with Hilprecht," see Kuklick, Puritans in 
Babylon 107-8, 118, and 178, with photo on 95 fig. 6. 

31 Cambridge University Reporter (19 13-14) 1321; Notice in J. J. Withers, Register of Admis- 
sions to King's College, Cambridge, 1797-1925 (1929) 191. See Letter of L.W. King to Anna 
Maria King, 8 June 1914, family possession. 

32 Resolution of the Senate of the University of London, dated 24 March 1915, in a letter to 
L.W. King, 25 March 1915, family possession. Earlier, at its meeting on 19 November 1913, 
that same Senate had passed King's appointment to the Board of Studies for Archaeology, 
Theology, and Oriental Languages and Literatures; letter to L.W. King, 22 November 1913. 
King had originally assumed the duties of Lecturer in Assyrian at King's College in 1910; 
letter of A. Davies, Registrar of King's College, London, to C. C. Smith, 13 February 1964. See 
also F. J. C. Hearnshaw, The Centenary History of King s College London 1828-1928 (London: 
George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd., 1928) 425; notice by H.H. <= Harry Reginald Holland Hall>, 
Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 2 (1915) 186; Donald John Wiseman, The Expansion of 
Assyrian Studies (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 
1962) 12-3; C. C. Smith, "Impact" 82 and 94. 


Some Footnotes to the History of Assyriology 

to a letter from the Director and Principal Librarian of the British Museum, 
Frederic George Kenyon, written on 15 January 1916 — where he was found 
by the aforementioned letter from Clay. 33 King himself, though deceased 
(on 20 August 1919), 34 was sent a personal letter of commendation (dated 
26 September 1919) for "the services you have been able to render to the 
Geographical Section of this Department <= Naval Intelligence> during the 
War"! 35 

This story did not quite end with the offer to King, since we need also note 
what else followed from Penn when King did not accept their offer. 36 There is 
a series of three letters written by G. B. Gordon, as Director of the University 
Museum, to E. A. Wallis Budge, successively detailing: (1) the offer of the 
appointment to Leroy Waterman, dated 24 May 1913; (2) an announcement, 
dated 8 July 1913, that Waterman had refused by virtue of a theological school 
offer; 37 and (3) a further note, dated 31 July 1913, that Arthur Ungnad was 
coming instead. 38 Alessandro Pezzati, currently Archivist of the University 
of Pennsylvania Museum, has related that "in the minutes of the meeting of 
the Board of Managers for May, 1913 there is discussion about offering the 
position <= Curator of the Babylonian Section> to Dr. LeRoy Waterman, 
who later declined" the offer. 39 

33 Letter of EG. Kenyon, Director, British Museum, to E.A. Wallis Budge, 15 January 1916, 
Departmental Archives, British Museum. On Kenyon (15 January 1863-23 August 1952), see 
WWW 1951-1960 612-3; Harold Idris Bell, PBA 38 (1952) 269-94; DNB 1951-1960, 576-8. 

34 Death certificate; C.C. Smith, "Impact" 99-102. 

35 Letter of Wm. Sinclair, Naval Intelligence Department, Admiralty, to L.W. King, 26 
September 1919, family possession. 

36 The data for this also comes from the British Museum records, specifically from the volu- 
minous correspondence of Wallis Budge, officially Keeper of the then-designated Department 
of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum from 1894 to 1924 but already 
present within that department and its predecessor from 1883. Budge collected into great 
"scrapbook"-like volumes the vast assortment of correspondence that he had endured within 
his appointed role. On these volumes, their extent and content, see C. C. Smith, "Reevaluation" 
26-9. On the matter of nonsense versus substance encountered by Keepers within the Depart- 
ment, see Budge, By Nile and Tigris 1, 32-7, which categorizes essentially parallel items found 
in the massive "scrapbook" collections. 

37 Waterman was often mentioned in correspondence with Wallis Budge, seeking his advice 
and notifying Budge of his own decisions, so that there remain preserved in those "scrapbooks" 
his own letters concerning his acceptance of the position at the Meadville Theological School 
in 1913, a position which then, in the aftermath at Chicago of the death of R. F. Harper, served 
as a stepping stone to his better position at the University of Michigan in 1915. Letters of 
L. Waterman to E.A. Wallis Budge, respectively: 20 January 1914, 24 May 1914, 20 August 
1914, 23 September 1914, 18 October 1914, 13 June 1915, 26 September 1915, and3 November 
1915; Departmental Archives, British Museum. On Waterman (4 July 1875-9 May 1972), see 
WWWA 5 759; Budge, Rise 256-7 with photo facing 256; Meade, Road 88. On Harper's death 
in London, see above, note 18. 

3 « Letters of G.B. Gordon to E.A. Wallis Budge, respectively, 24 May 1913, 8 July 1913, and 
31 July 1913; Departmental Archives, British Museum. On Ungnad (3 August 1879-26 April 
1945), see Adam Falkenstein, "Zum Gedachtnis," ZA 50 (1 952) 1-2; C. H. Gordon, Tradition 2 1 . 
39 Letter of Alex Pezzati, Archivist, University of Pennsylvania Museum to C. C. Smith, 9 
November 2000. 


Clyde Curry Smith 

It would appear from this material that the original intent of a Profes- 
sorship in Assyriology in the University of Pennsylvania, offered in 1912 to 
Leonard King, had within the year evolved into a desire for an Assyriologist 
who might rather come as Curator of the Babylonian Section within the 
University Museum; and Ungnad's presence, though not lengthy at Penn by 
virtue also of the First World War, demonstrates that fact. So does the sub- 
sequent presence of the American-born, British-naturalized, French-trained 
Stephen Herbert Langdon, who replaced Ungnad in 1916, and about whom 
King and Clay exchanged pejorative views in their correspondence of 1 9 1 7. 40 

The letter from L.W. King to A.T. Clay, 30 September 1917, Babylo- 
nian Collection, Yale University, had precipitated some of those pejorative 
remarks found in Clay's response, by referring to "that mess" into which 
Langdon had gotten himself by attacking Morris Jastrow in a manner throw- 
ing "discredit on the study of Sumerian." 41 But equally negative comments 
about Langdon appear in two letters found within the Departmental Archives, 
British Museum. The first is a report from L. W King to E. A. Wallis Budge, 
4 January 1916, when Langdon was making use of the Students' Room in 
an unsatisfactory way. 42 The second is from Harry Reginald Holland Hall, 
already on military duty, to E. A. Wallis Budge, 10 September 1918, when 
Hall was instructed, as a consequence of the illness of L. W King, to make 
himself ready to go out to Mesopotamia to replace Campbell Thompson in 
excavations at Ur, etc. Hall did not wish to work with Langdon there in spite 
of intentions by Oxford University. 43 That Hall was not joined by Langdon 

40 On Langdon (8 May 1876-19 May 1937) in general and at Penn, see WWW 1929-1940 
778; WWWA 1 703; R.C. Thompson, JRAS (1937) 719-26; Cyril John Gadd, PBA 23 (1937) 
565-80; G.R. Driver, DNB 1931-1940 524; Budge, Rise 192-3; Meade, Road 111-2. Budge 
says that Langdon "became a British subject in 1913, and during the war served for three 
months 'as a regular' in the 22nd London Regiment, and for a year held the post of Curator 
of the Babylonian Section of the Philadelphia Museum." Driver does not mention Langdon's 
stint at Penn. Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon 161 goes so far as to state that "Penn courted an 
English academic who despised the United States even more palpably than had Hilprecht" See 
also note 45 below. 

41 Letter of L.W. King to A.T. Clay, 30 September 1917, Babylonian Collection, Yale Univer- 
sity. On Jastrow (13 August 1861-22 June 1921), see WWWA 1, 630; G. A. Barton, DAB 10, 3 
and In Memoriam, Morris Jastrow, Jr. (New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1921); James 
Alan Montgomery, AJSL 38 (1921/22) 1-11; Meade, Road 35, 37, 75, and 121; C.H. Gordon, 
Tradition 6-7 and 13-32 (entitled "The Jastrow Years"!). While Jastrow's role in the Peters- 
Hilprecht controversy receives consideration, especially by Ritterband and Wechsler, "Message 
to Lushtamar," the matter behind the Langdon- Jastrow "mess" to which King and Clay refer 
is poorly defined. Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon 228 n. 52 identifies and documents partially 
"the Langdon- Jastrow fight," and even suggests, in a mode comparable to the other criticisms 
of Langdon, that he "received perhaps less criticism than he otherwise would have because an 
attack on him inevitably meant a defense of Germans" (173). 

42 Letter of L.W. King to E. A. Wallis Budge, 4 January 1916, Departmental Archives, British 

43 Letter of H.R.H. Hall to E.A. Wallis Budge, 10 September 1918, Departmental Archives, 
British Museum. On Hall (30 September 1873-13 October 1930), see R.C. Thompson, PBA 


Some Footnotes to the History of Assyriology 

is verified in Hall's published report — a volume dedicated "in memory of 
Leonard William King 1 9 1 9." 44 

Langdon was only at Penn for one year before reassuming the Shillito 
Readership in Assyriology at Oxford, which he held from its inception in 
1908 until his sudden death. 45 Instead Penn settled upon one of its own, 
Edward Chiera, who remained on as Instructor in Assyriology from the time 
of his own doctorate in 1913 until his departure for Chicago in the autumn 
of 1927. 46 But with that we have more than come full circle with these notes. 

16 (1930) 475-85; Thomas Eric Peet, DNB 1922-1930 387-8; Budge, Rise 145 and 250, 
with photo facing 174; Who Was Who in Egyptology (3rd revised ed.; London: The Egypt 
Exploration Society, 1995) 186-7 with photo. 

44 See H. R. H. Hall, A Season s Work at Ur, al-'Ubaid, Abu Shahrain (Eridu), and Elsewhere 
Being an Unofficial Account of the British Museum Archaeological Mission to Babylonia, 
1919 (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1930). Noteworthy from that earlier date, when Hall 
expected King to recover, are a series of letters from Hall in the field to King, often seeking 
both Sumerological and archaeological advice but also reporting in detail upon his discoveries: 
18 January 1919, 9 February 1919, 9 March 1919, and 26 June; family possession. However, 
no responses from King seem to have been forthcoming. These rather informal and often 
interrogative letters need to be compared with those formal reports Hall wrote to E. A. Wallis 
Budge: 12 January 1919, 16 April 1919, 10 June 1919, and 12 July 1919; Departmental 
Archives, British Museum. While Hall had arrived back into Britain, he did not learn of King's 
death in time to be present at the funeral; see letter of Hall to E. A. Wallis Budge, 25 August 
1919, Departmental Archives, British Museum. 

45 Langdon was clearly present in London on 4 January 1 9 1 6; at Pennsylvania on 20 November 
1917; but back again in London before war's end. On the Shillito Readership, which was created 
specifically for Langdon by Miss Mary Wallace Shillito in 1908, when she offered £10,000 
to Oxford University with that specific condition, see G.R. Driver, DNB 1931-1940 524; 
D.J. Wiseman, Expansion 11-12; Oliver Robert Gurney, RIA 6/7-8 487; Anon., "Professor 
O.R. Gurney M.A., D.Phil., F.B.A. (1911-2001)," AnSt 50 (2000) hi. Campbell Thompson 
held the Readership between Langdon and Gurney; see note 18 above. 

46 On Chiera (5 August 1885-20 June 1933) at Penn, see Meade, Road 77, 100-1, and 121- 
2; C. H. Gordon, Tradition 24; whereas Budge, Rise 252 and 257, has no sense of Chiera 's 
ultimate importance. Otherwise see WWWA 1216; John Albert Wilson, DAB Suppl. 1, 171-2; 
and Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon 169-71. [Editors' note: see Eichler p. 94 n. 37.] 



Ira Spar, Thomas J. Logan, James P. Allen 1 

sb3.ii wj rib.jjry.jsblyt.f 

"My lord has instructed me, and I will carry out his teaching" 

Amarna,Tomb of Aya 

For Erie Leichty 

It has long been known from the published corpus of Neo- and Late Babylo- 
nian administrative documents that many different ethnic minorities resided 
in southern Mesopotamia during the mid and late first millennium BCE. 2 
Most evidence for foreign population groups is found in random mention 
of individuals in economic texts and administrative texts. In most instances 
foreigners are listed simply as individuals without notation as to their eth- 
nic identity. Many who may be slaves cannot be identified as they were 
given native names by either their overseers 3 or parents. 4 It is clear, however, 

1 The initial identification of many of the Egyptian names in the two texts presented here was 
made by Thomas Logan. James Allen identified additional names and provided information for 
the entries in this article. Note that in Egyptian vocalizations, e without diacritics represents 
an indistinct vowel. Abbreviations in the text follow those found in the CAD except for the 
following: DN = E. Liiddeckens, Demotisches Namenbuch 1 (Wiesbaden: Dr. L. Reichert, 
1980-2000); GM = Gottinger Miszellen; LA = Lexikon der Agyptologie 1-7 (ed. W. Helck et 
al.; Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1972-92); PN = H. Ranke, Die dgyptischen Personennamen 
1-3 (Gliickstadt: J.J. Augustin, 1935-77); Vycichl, Dictionnaire etymologique = W. Vycichl, 
Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue copte (Leuven: Peeters, 1983). 

2 See R. Zadok, "On Some Foreign Population Groups in First Millennium Babylonia," TA 
6 (1979) 164-81; I. Eph'al, "The Western Minorities in Babylonia in the 6th-5th Centuries 
B.C.: Maintenance and Cohesion," ONS 47 (1978) 74-90 (see especially, 74 n. 3 for additional 
bibliography); R. Zadok, On West Semites in Babylonia during the Chaldean and Achaemenian 
Periods: An Onomastic Study (2 nd ed.; Jerusalem: H. J. & Z. Wanaarta and Tel Aviv University, 
1978); E. Weidner, "Jojachin, Konig von Juda, in babylonischen Keilschrifttexten," in Studies 
Dussaud 923—35. 

3 See the predominately Samas names given to Egyptians(?) working in the Ebabbar temple 
inCT44 89(BM78177). 

4 More rarely, a father with a Babylonian name is known to have given a son an Egyptian 
name. See VAS 3/4 196:1 1, Pa-at-e-si son of Ha-ds-da-a-a. In this case the father may have 
been of Egyptian origin despite his Babylonian name ("Born During the Marriage Festival"). 
For other examples see R. Zadok, "On Some Egyptians in First-Millennium Mesopotamia," 


Ira Spar, Thomas J. Logan, James P. Allen 

that foreign groups were identified as minorities and that some groups had 
independent assemblies and juridical authority. 5 

Several studies have focused on the existence of Egyptians in Babylonian 
sources. 6 One group of Egyptians is mentioned in several administrative texts 
originating in the Ebabbar temple at Sippar (CT 44 72 [BM 78294]; CT 44 
89 [BM 78177]; CT 55 539 [BM 56348] and 794 [BM 57337] = Wiseman, 
Iraq 28 [1966] pi. 44; CT 56 87 [BM 57701]; CT 56 664 [BM 55848]; 
CT 56 724 [BM 57337]); BM 59410 and BM 61993 (Bongenaar and Haring, 
JCS 46 [1994] 59-71). 7 These texts, some of which can be dated to the 
reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, contain names of Egyptians, most likely temple 
slaves (sirku, cf. BM 59410 obv. 1) who may have been prisoners of war, 
possibly from Nebuchadnezzar's defeat of the Egyptians at the Battle of 
Carchemish in 605 BCE or captured in his campaign four years later. 8 In 

GM 26 (1977) 67 and R. Zadok, "Egyptians in Babylonia and Elam During the 1 st Millennium 
B.C.," Lingua Aegyptia 2 (1992) 144. 

5 Eph'al, ONS 47 (1978) 76; M. Dandamayev, "The Composition of the Citizens in First 
Millennium Babylonia," AoF 24 (1977) 146-7; G. Cardascia, "L'etranger," in Recueils de la 
Societe Jean Bodin 9 (Brussels: 1958) 105-17. Note puhur {i si-bu-tu sd {i mi-sir-a-a in Camb. 
85:3 cited by M. Dandamayev, "Egyptians in Babylonia in the 6 th -5 th Centuries B.C.," in 

6 A. C.VM. Bongenaar and B.J.J. Haring, "Egyptians in Neo-Babylonian Sippar," JCS 46 
(1994) 59-71; A. Leahy, "The Egyptian Names," in Texts from Niniveh (ed. J.N. Postgate 
and B. Kh. Ismail; TIM 11; Baghdad: Directorate General of Antiquities, 1993) 56-62; 
Zadok, Lingua Aegyptia 2 (1992) 139-46; Dandamayev, "Egyptians in Babylonia" 321- 
5; F. Joannes, "Contrats de mariage d'epoque recente," RA 78 (1984) 71-81; G. Vittmann, 
"Zu einigen keilschriftlichen Umschreibungen agyptischer Personennamen," GM 70 (1984) 
65-6; R. Zadok, "On Some Egyptians in Babylonian Documents," GM 64 (1983) 73-5; 
G.J. P. McEwan, The Late Babylonian Tablets in the Royal Ontario Museum (ROMCT 2; 
Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1982) 51; Zadok, GM 26 (1977) 63-8; Zadok, TA 6 (1979) 
164-73; M.A. Dandamayev, "Egyptian Settlers in Babylonia in the 6th-5th Centuries B.C.," 
Drevniy Egipet I drevnaya Afrika (Moscow, 1967) 5-26 (Russian); D.J. Wiseman, "Some 
Egyptians in Babylonia," Iraq 28 (1966) 154-9; J. Kohler and A. Ungnad, "Verzeichnis der 
nicht-babylonischen Eigennamen," in Hundert ausgewdhlte Rechtsurkunden aus der Spdtzeit 
des babylonischen Schrifttums von Xerxes bis Mithridates II. (485—93 v. Chr.) (ed. J. Kohler 
and A. Ugnad; Leipzig: E. Pfeiffer, 1911) 68-9. Other studies focusing on Egyptian etymology 
of personal names in Babylonian sources include: H. Ranke, Keilschriftliches Material zur 
altdgyptischen Vokalisation (APAW 1910/11; Berlin: Verlag der Koniglichen Akademie der 
Wissenschaften, in Commission bei Georg Reimer, 1910); H. Satzinger, "Zu den neubaby- 
lonischen Transkriptionen agyptischer Personennamen," GM 73 (1984) 89; E. Edel, Neue 
Deutungen keilschriftlicher Umschreibungen agyptischer Worter und Personennamen (Oster- 
reichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Sitzungsberichte 
Bd. 375; Vienna: Verlag der Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1980); J. Vergote, 
review of E. Edel, Neue Deutungen, BiOr 40 (1983) 596-9. For Egyptian personal names, see 

According to Zadok, TA 6 (1979) 173, Egyptians appear to have been one of the smallest 
ethnic minorities in Babylonia comprising only one percent of the personal names found in the 
Murasu archive dating to the second part of the fifth century BCE. 

7 See Wiseman, Iraq 28 (1966) 154-9. 

8 See Weidner, "Jojachin, Konig von Juda" 930 ff; Wiseman, Trag 28 (1966) 154-5; McEwan, 
Late Babylonian Tablets; and Eph'al, OrNS 47 (1978) 77 n. 9. For a record of a slave sale of an 


Two Neo-Babylonian Texts of Foreign Workmen 

his other campaigns to the west Nebuchadnezzar also took foreign captives. 9 
It should also be noted that not all individuals with Egyptian names were 
slaves. An adoption contract from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar lists a certain 
Harmasu, the Egyptian, as a judge in charge of a prison Q^dayyanu sa bit 
MO- 10 ' 

Two tablets from the 1886 collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
contain the names of Egyptians and are presented here. 

The text of one tablet, MMA 86.11.110+511, containing notations of 
numerous Egyptian and other foreign names is similar in format to CT 44 
89 (BM 78177) from the Ebabbar temple of Samas in Sippar, CT 56 87 and 
Nbk. 452. The MMA text, and probably the BM text, record the distribution 
of TUG.KUR.RA-garments from the temple storehouse (bit makkuri) to 
workmen. The workmen are organized into work units of eight to twelve 
individuals. 1 ' Each group is supervised by a foreman (noted as a rab eserti in 
BM 594 10 12 ) whose personal name is listed in the first line of each group of 
names. The foreman's name is then repeated at the end of the section along 
with the notation of the total number of workmen under his charge. A line is 
drawn on the tablet underneath each of the eleven groups of workmen. The 
name of the leader of the first group of nine workmen is broken, the other 
supervisors are respectively: Ha-la-be-su (cf. CT 56 87 rev. iii 13, BM 59410 
obv 2 = Bongenaar and Haring, JCS 46 [1994]), Kinunaya (cf. CT 56 87 rev. 
iii 24, BM 59410 obv. 12, BM 57701 rev. iii 14 = Bongenaar and Haring, 
JCS 46 [1994]), Ubar-Nabu, Pa-tu-ba-as-tu (cf. BM 59410 rev. 18'), Hu-ut- 
ma-hi-\A-mu-ru-tar-si (cf. BM 57701 rev. iii 25), Am-na-pi-' (cf. BM 59410 
rev. 3'), Hu-u-ru (cf. BM 59410 obv. 22), I-na-hu-ru-u, and Har-ma-su. 

In total there appear to have been ninety-eight workmen attested in the 
MMA text. Seventy-three of the names can be read or reconstructed thirteen 
names are fragmentary, and twelve names are in broken sections of the tablet. 
Most of the workmen appear to have been Egyptians; some appear to be West 
Semites; one is of Libyan origin (or named after a Libyan ruler); another may 
be Carian. 

MMA 86.11. 110+MMA 86.11.511 (Figs. Iand2) 

H. 10.5 mm W. 6.5 mm Th. 1.5 mm 
Nebuchadnezzar(?), month [x] day [x] 
Purchase, 1886 

Egyptian woman and her infant daughter taken as captive in Cambyses's Egyptian campaign in 
525 BCE, see MMA 79.7.25 (CTMMA 3 62) and duplicates Camb. 334 and Pinches, Peek 17. 

9 See Eph'al, ONS 47 (1978) 81 n. 22. 

10 McEwan, Late Babylonian Tablets 5 1 . 

11 See also UCP 9 29. 

12 Cf. Bongenaar and Haring, JCS 46 (1994) 59-71. 


Ira Spar, Thomas J. Logan, James P. Allen 

Col. i 


[TUGKURRA 1 ™* sd a-na '"ERIN™ 5 ...] 


[UD.x.KAM MU.x.KAM] 
















1 ![...] 


1 l Pa-tu-[...] 


PAB 9 W[ERIN]™s [&*] i[x]-x-rf? 


1 I [/fa-/a]- r £e , -.SM 


1 [ l ]Pa-tu-[ba-as]-tu 


[1 ^xj-x-x-ofw 


[1 : x x]-ga-.SM 


[1 ^Xj-X-W-OT 


[1 l Hi]-ni-is-si 


[1 '/faJ-aZ-ri-' 


[1 lP]a-?w-e-.« 


[1 •jV-^a-ii-j-rj 


[1 l \Pa-tu-ha-an-si 


[1 x]-\-na-pi-ni-bi 




[PAB 12 i"ERIN]mc§ &j iHa-la-be-su 


[1 JJKI.NE.NE-a-a 


[1 l \A-mu-ru-tar-si 


[1 l Ka\l-ba-a 


[1 ^x-icP-ri-ih-'sP 


[1 l Se\-e-pi 








[1 ' ...]x 


[PAB 8 '"ERIN^s &$ iKI.NE.N]E-a-a 


[1 !t/-6ar- d A]G 


[1 1 Si-ra]-' 'ah '-ti 


[1 A-mu-ru\-tar-si 


[1 l Har\-ma-su 


Two Neo-Babylonian Texts of Foreign Workmen 

9 [1 l Pa-tu\-mu-nu 

10 1 l A-'la-ha-bi 

11 1 l Pa-tu-pe-e 

12 1 l Pa-tu-pi-nu-u 

13 PAB r 8 n ['"]EPJN me s sd VJ-bar-tAG 

14 1 l Pa-tu-ba-as-tu 

15 1 l Ha-ri-tar-si 

16 1 tfa-fon-NUMUN 

17 1 v Hu-u-ru 

18 1 'gw-M-sw 

19 1 iSi-ip-ta-' 

20 1 l Sa-ri-a-su 

21 1 l Pa-tu-mu-nu 

22 1 ^AG-tak-lak 

23 PAB 9 "ERIN™ 5 ra l Pa-tu-ba-as-tu 

24 1 l Hu-ut-ma-hi-' 

25 1 l I-na-ha-ru-u 

26 1 l Sa-am-mi-ki 

27 1 l Pa-tu-hu-it-ru 


Col. iii 

1 1 l Ha-ap-har/mur-ra-ad/t 

2 1 l Ha-at-ri-' 

3 1 l Ma-pi-' 

4 1 l Pi-ti-in-ha-a-tu 

5 1 l E-be-e-su 

6 PAB 9 w ERIN mc5 ra l Hu-ut-ma-hi- 

7 1 l A-mu-ru-tar-si 

8 1 ld AG-sam-ma- ' 

9 1 l Har-ma-su 

10 1 l Pa-tu-hi-'-u 

11 1 l Pa-tu-ba-as-tu 

12 1 l Si-ra-ah-ti 

13 1 l Tak-la-a-ta 

14 1 l Pa-tu-mu-nu 

15 1 l Tap-na-ah-tu 

16 1 l Pa-tu-si-ri 

17 PAB 10 '"ERIN mc§ sa l A-mu-ru-tar-si 


Ira Spar, Thomas J. Logan, James P. Allen 
Col. iii 


1 l Am-na-pi-' 


1 A-pi-re-e-tu 


1 H-na-ha-ru-u 


1 l Uk-ka-a 


1 l He-e-ri 


1 A-mu-tu 


1 A-mu-ru-tar-si 


1 l Sa-mu-nu-hu-tu 


PAB 8 w ERIN mcS id Am-na-pi-' 


1 l Hu-u-ru 


1 l Pa-tu-mu-nu 


1 l 'Tap-na-ah-tu 






[1 'x x\-x-hu-ur 


[1 l x]-am-' 


[1 'Jx-'-d-se-em 


[PAB 7 ^ERIN™ 8 l Hu-u-ru 


[1 l I-n\a-hu-u-ru-u 


[1 'Jgw-SM-sa-me-es-fa' 


[1 l ]Pa-tu-mu-nu 


[1 1 ]Har-ma-su 


[1 'JSe-'e^-rw 


1 l Qu-su-sa-me-es-ki 


1 l Sa-ri-ki-bi 


1 l Hu-ii-ru 


PAB 8 "ERIN™ 8 l I-na-hu-ru-u 


1 l Har-ma-su 


1 hi.-am-tu-u 


1 'gw-M-SM 


1 l Pa-tu-ba-as-tu 


1 l Si-ip-ta-' 


[1 : ]//M-M-rW 


[1 l Ta\k-la-ta 


[1 : x x]-na-bu/pu-u 


[1 y-'a-te-^a-as-fti 


[PAB 9 w ERIN m «] War-ma-su 




[&? E.BABBAR.RA i*x-x]-Y-a-a 


[... w »ii-si]r-a-a 


Two Neo-Babylonian Texts of Foreign Workmen 

Notes to the Text 

Col. i 

Lines 1-2. See CT 44 89:1-2. 

Line 11. Pa-tu-[...] = Eg. ps-dj-[..,] "The one whom [...] has given"; voc. 
Pede[...]. See Leahy, TIM 1 1 60. 

Line 13. Ha-la-be-su = Eg. hlbs (meaning unknown; the end may incorporate 
the name of the god Bes); cf. DN 1 843. Voc. halabese (aXa^oiq). See 
Wiseman, Iraq 28 (1966) 38 (BM 57337:1).